Creating Age-Friendly Communities for a Growing Senior Population

The global population, including Canada, is experiencing a significant surge in aging demographics. It’s projected that by 2050, nearly a quarter of the world’s population will be over 60 years old. This demographic shift has spurred the development of age-friendly communities tailored for older adults.

Understanding Age-Friendly Communities:

An age-friendly community prioritizes the evolving needs of seniors by providing essential services, features, and benefits. The goal is to enable seniors to lead a healthy, active, and independent life while comfortably aging in their own homes. Nowadays, a majority of older adults prefer to age in place, and age-friendly communities play a crucial role in supporting this choice. An age-friendly community is set up to help seniors live safely, enjoy good health and stay involved.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Initiative:

In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated the Global Age Friendly Cities Project. This project aims to evaluate cities’ capacity to facilitate a healthy and active lifestyle for older adults.

Key Features of an Age-Friendly Community:

To ensure benefits and accessibility for seniors, several critical aspects are examined, including:

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Outdoor spaces and buildings
  • Social participation, support, and inclusion
  • Employment and volunteer opportunities
  • Communication and information access
  • Health services

Accessible Housing:

Accessible and affordable housing is paramount in creating an age-friendly community. To achieve this, homes may need modifications, and new constructions should prioritize universal accessibility. 

Features of accessible housing encompass:

  • Wide doorways for mobility devices
  • Curbless showers with transfer benches
  • Grab bars and railings
  • Entrance ramps
  • Elevators
  • Wide walkways
  • Affordability considerations
  • Maintenance services


Reliable public transportation is crucial for seniors to attend appointments, events, and run errands. Many older adults may not drive, necessitating a viable alternative. Most cities offer transportation options specifically designed for seniors, which should be:

  • Affordable
  • Wheelchair-accessible
  • Priority seating for seniors

Outdoor Spaces and Buildings:

Well-maintained public spaces enhance the quality of life for all residents. This includes:

  • Public parks and green spaces with walkways, washrooms, and seating
  • Sidewalks accommodating wheelchair mobility
  • Adequate lighting and police patrols for safety
  • Universal accessibility for all public buildings

Social Inclusion:

Fostering a sense of belonging is vital to prevent social isolation among seniors. This involves:

  • Trained staff in public facilities for various impairments
  • Positive representation of seniors in society
  • Intergenerational events to encourage family interaction
  • Technological proficiency education and training
outdoor fun for seniors

Guide to Programs and Services for Seniors In Ontario

This guide is a resource for programs and services available to Ontario’s seniors that can help them stay safe and healthy, active and engaged. You can download the guide online HERE

Employment and Volunteer Opportunities:

Active involvement in the community is empowering. Providing opportunities for seniors to volunteer or seek employment based on skills and interests is essential. Community programs and agencies dedicated to senior employment can be instrumental in this regard.

Communication and Information Access:

As technology advances, seniors need support to navigate modern services. This includes:

  • Free training and information sessions
  • Access to community information and basic media
  • Clear, easy-to-follow instructions
  • Public internet access in libraries and community centers

Health Services:

Local community services, particularly home care agencies, play a pivotal role in supporting older adults in their quest for independent living. These services encompass assistance with daily living and management of chronic health conditions.

By incorporating these features, communities can provide a supportive environment for seniors to age with dignity and vitality.

Promyse Home Care provides home support, companion care, and specialized care for seniors in Kitchener, Waterloo & Cambridge.  Our commitment extends beyond traditional caregiving to encompass a holistic approach that enhances the overall quality of life for our clients. 

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