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The 8 Domains of Livability

The availability and quality of these community features impact the well-being of older adults

The Good Life

The World Health Organization’s Global Age-Friendly Cities and Communities project has identified eight domains of livability that influence the quality of life of older adults. Herewith, a pictorial tour through the domains.

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1. Outdoor Spaces and Buildings

People need public places to gather — indoors and out. Green spaces, safe streets, sidewalks, outdoor seating and accessible buildings (think elevators, stairs with railings, etc.) can be used and enjoyed by people of all ages.

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2. Transportation

Driving shouldn't be the only way to get around. Public transit options can be as expansive and as infastructure dependent as a train system or as targeted as a taxi service that provides non-drivers with rides to and from a doctor's office. 

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3. Housing

AARP surveys consistently find that older adults want to stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible. Doing so is possible if a house is designed or modified for aging in place and if a community includes housing options for varying life stages (and varying bank accounts).

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4. Social Participation

Regardless of a person's age, loneliness is often as debilitating a health condition as having a chronic illness or disease. Sadness and isolation can be combatted by the availability of  accessible, affordable and fun social activities.

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5. Respect and Social Inclusion

Everyone wants to feel valued. Intergenerational activities are a great way for young and old to learn from one another, honor what each has to offer and, at the same time, feel good about themselves.

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6. Civic Participation and Employment

Why does work need to be an all or nothing experience? An age-friendly community provides ways older people can (if they choose) continue to work for pay, volunteer their skills and be actively engaged in community life.

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7. Communication and Information

Information today is delivered in ways few could have imagined a decade ago — and many still don't know how to use. Age-friendly communities recognize that not everyone has a smartphone or Internet access and that information needs to be disseminated through a variety of means.

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8. Community and Health Services

At some point, every person of every age gets hurt, becomes ill or simply needs some help. While it's important that care be available nearby, it's essential that residents are able to access and afford the services required.

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Age-Friendly for All Ages

AARP is helping communities throughout the United States use the eight-domains framework to create and maintain great places for people of all ages. (Check out the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities.)

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We like hearing from you. Send your feedback or questions to livable@aarp.org