What is an Age Friendly City?
The environment in which we live - the physical and social infrastructure, neighbourhoods, buildings, services, facilities or opportunities to be involved – impacts on all of us. The social and built environment affects our health and wellbeing and this becomes more significant as we age.
An age friendly city is one where people of all ages can live healthy and independent lives for as long as possible, and remain in a secure and supportive environment that enables them to participate in the community as they grow older.
Where did the Age Friendly City initiative start?
The Age Friendly City initiative was launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2005. It was created in response to the rapid ageing of the world’s population and the increasing numbers of people living in cities. The WHO initially partnered with 33 cities around the world which collaborated with older people, their carers and service providers to determine the features of the urban environment that help, or hinder, active ageing. There are now over 200 cities and communities who have partnered with the WHO to become age friendly – and this number is growing.
The City of Unley became the first South Australian council to join the WHO Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities in 2012.
What is active ageing?
The World Health Organisation defines ‘active ageing’ as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age”. Active ageing starts when we are very young. The circumstances we encounter and the choices that we make during our lives will impact on our quality of life when we are older. The healthier we are we reach old age, the better our quality of life. An age friendly city helps people to maintain their health throughout their life course by providing the physical and social infrastructure that supports active ageing.
Who benefits from an Age Friendly City?
An age friendly city benefits everyone, not just older people. Neighbourhoods that are safe for older people are also safe for children. Footpaths that are free from obstructions help parents with prams, or younger people with disabilities, as well as older people, to move around freely. The entire community benefits from the participation of older people in paid or voluntary work. Housing that can be adapted to people with all levels of ability will ensure our neighbourhoods are sustainable for future generations. By viewing a community through an age friendly lens, city planners, residents, businesses, service providers and visitors can help create a city that is friendly for all ages.
Why is the City of Unley becoming age friendly?
The City of Unley is developing its new Age Friendly Strategy to replace its Ageing Strategy, which expires in 2014. The new Age Friendly Strategy will focus on creating an Age Friendly City by supporting and encouraging active ageing, ensuring the city is accessible for everyone, promoting health and wellbeing and providing opportunities for connection and inclusion for all members of the community.
How will the Age Friendly Strategy be implemented?
As well as consulting widely, the City of Unley will establish an Age Friendly Alliance, comprised of representatives of older people, service providers and council staff to monitor the implementation of the Age Friendly Strategy. This will be a long-term partnership to ensure the views of local people continue to be considered as the City of Unley moves towards becoming an age friendly city.
What can I do?
If you would like to be involved in helping to create an Age Friendly Unley, you can complete the survey, attend a focus group, drop into the Age Friendly Hub, volunteer to be part of the Age Friendly Alliance or simply go to Your Say Unley and tell us what you think we can do to make Unley become more age friendly.
How will the gathered feedback be stored?
The data obtained from this study will be saved on the secure server at the Centre for Work+Life and can only be accessed by the researcher. Paper based surveys will be stored in a locked cabinet at the Centre for Work+Life Office. All files will be retained for a total period of five years before being destroyed in accordance with the University of South Australia’s Retention of Data Policy.
Where can I get more information?
For more information about Age Friendly Unley, you can contact Celine Luya, Manager Community Services by: