Two billion people in the world will be age 60 or older by 2050. To help coordinate efforts in serving the growing older adult population, the World Health Organization (WHO) has created a global network of “age-friendly” cities. The goal is to foster communication between cities in order to exchange best practices and work together in developing new solutions. Planners and community leaders can use the WHO Age Friendly Cities website to gather information about the specific needs of the growing older adult population, as well as steps for making their communities more age friendly and procedures for joining the WHO Network of Age-Friendly Cities.
The rising median age in the U.S. also means a rising tide of health-related issues. WHO provides downloadable documents for Health and Aging, as well as a comprehensive Global Age-Friendly Cities and Communities guide that examines the core features of an age-friendly city.
There are two methods of understanding the WHO network of global age-friendly cities provided on the website. The first is a downloadable brochure regarding what constitutes an age-friendly city and what joining the network means for applicants. The second is a “Network cycle of continual improvement” link that demonstrates planning, implementation, progress evaluation and continual improvement within a five-year timeframe.Those cities hoping to join WHO’s expanding network have a four-step application process, and the majority of those steps can be conducted online. Applicants will need to consider and prepare for “eight domains” with regards to their planning and application process. These include: outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication information, and community support and health services.
How to Use
Community planners and local U.S. leaders should not limit the scope of smart planning ideas to domestic locales in preparing for the coming age wave. Knowing and understanding which citiesare age-friendly can help in creating local planning solutions. Planners and local officials can use the WHO Age-Friendly Citieswebsite as a guide for establishing and implementing age-friendly planning efforts in their communities.
View the website: WHO Age-Friendly Cities