Why Should Cities Become More Age-Friendly?
Prepare cities and communities for demographic change
Population ageing is one of the biggest social transformations in the 21st century. Adapting city structures to the needs of a growing older population is a sound preparation to meet the challenges of changing demographics . Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will double from about 11% to 22%, to about 2 billion people in total. Of these, 395 million will be over the age of 80. By 2050, older adults will have outnumbered all children under the age of 14. Most of today’s adults and children will be ageing in cities.
Making cities more age-friendly is a sound investment. Supportive and enabling environments enable older people to stay independent longer and in turn cities and communities benefit from the contributions older people have to offer.
Enhance inter-generational solidarity
An age-friendly city fosters solidarity among generations within communities, facilitating social relationships and bonds between residents of all ages. Opportunities for residents from different backgrounds and demographics to interact and get to know each other facilitates community integration. This, in turn, allows older people to feel socially included and involved. Age-friendly cities also reach out to older people at risk of social isolation through personalized, tailored efforts designed to minimize any economic, linguistic or cultural barriers.
Age-friendly cities and communities benefit all ages
An age-friendly city is barrier-free, designed for diversity, inclusive and cohesive. It can make a city a city of choice for all generations – a great place to live, have a family and grow old in. Age-friendly environments allow people to stay active, connected and positively contribute to economic, social, and cultural life in their community long into their old age.
An age-friendly city is really a city for all ages. Age-friendly cities design and adapt their natural and built environment for residents of all ages and different capacities – accessible and safe road and transport infrastructure, barrier-free access to buildings and houses, and public seating and sanitary facilities, among others. Tools for information dissemination are adapted to cater to the capabilities and resources of all residents. Age-friendly cities can prevent and delay age-related illnesses through the provision of community support and health care services, enabling older people to maintain their health and independence for as long as possible. These support services benefit younger generations too.