The World Health Organization (“WHO”) launched the Global Age-friendly Cities project in 2005. According to the WHO, “an Age-friendly City encourages active ageing by optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. In practical terms, an age-friendly city adapts its structures and services to be accessible to and inclusive of older people with varying needs and capacities”. An age-friendly city is not just “elderly-friendly”, but friendly for all ages.
Through the Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project, the Trust aims to promote age-friendly culture in Hong Kong, encourage the public to be aware of the needs of people of different ages, and drive mindset changes towards “ageing”. The Trust joins hands with various stakeholders to build Hong Kong into an age-friendly city which can cater for the needs of all ages.
Eight Domains of Age-friendly City
In 2006, the WHO initiated a focus group research project and invited 33 cities in 22 countries worldwide to participate. The focus group sessions had highlighted older people’s concerns on age-friendly features. Eight domains summarising factors and key elements of the urban environment that support active and healthy ageing were identified:
Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
A pleasant, clean and secure environment with green spaces, rest areas, as well as well-developed and safe pedestrian crossings and building infrastructure is a favourable living environment for seniors.
Accessible, affordable and safe public transport enables people to age actively, remain engaged with their community, as well as gain access to health and social services.
Affordable, well-designed and safe housing options with good connectivity to social services and the community allow older residents to live comfortably and help cater to their diverse needs.
A variety of accessible and affordable social activities are available to cater to older people’s diverse interests. Seniors’ participation in leisure, social, cultural, educational and spiritual activities fosters their continued integration in society.
Respect and Social Inclusion
It refers to the attitudes, behaviours and messages of the community towards older people. An inclusive society appreciates and shows respect for the elderly, and encourages older people to participate more in their city’s social, civic and economic activities.
Civic Participation and Employment
An age-friendly city and community provides ample opportunities of voluntary work and paid employment, and encourages civic participation for older people so that they can continue to contribute to their communities after retirement.
Communication and Information
Appropriate distribution of information to older people in a timely, accessible and affordable manner, through the communication channels that seniors are familiar with, helps prevent social exclusion of elderly people.
Community Support and Health Services
A wide range of accessible and affordable health and support services are vital to keep seniors healthy, independent and active.
The above eight domains are documented in the publication “Global Age-friendly Cities: A Guide” issued by the WHO in 2007. It serves as a tool for a city’s self-assessment and a map to chart progress on the age-friendly features.
To browse the “Global Age-friendly Cities: A Guide”, please click here