Are Age Friendly Communities also Resilient Communities? A Case Study of One Canadian Community

By Wendy Young, Sandra Pike-MacDonald, Irene Hardill, Veeresh Gadag, Devonne Ryan and Jared Clarke.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

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In both absolute and relative terms the number of older people is increasing globally, and while everyone hopes to stay active and healthy as they age, seniors face particular challenges to maintaining health, and consequently make more use of healthcare services than any other age group. But the challenges faced by individual seniors and to our health care system can be mitigated by policy interventions that promote seniors’ health. In this paper we focus on one such policy that has generated global interest: Age-Friendly Communities (AFC). According to the World Health Organization these are communities, “where policies, services and structures related to the physical and social environment [that] are designed to support and enable older people … to live in security, enjoy good health and continue to participate fully in society”. Specifically we present the findings of a collaborative study of the perceptions of residents–old and young–regarding age-friendliness of one Canadian city, St John’s, the capital city of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Our study represents the first to test whether residents’ impressions of AFC characteristics differ by age.

Keywords: Public Health, Public Policy, Government, Community Practices, Age Friendly Communities

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2012, pp.25-37. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 501.063KB).

Dr. Wendy Young

Canada Research Chair in Healthy Aging, School of Nursing, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, Canada

Dr. Wendy Young, of Memorial University, is a Canada Research Chair. Canada Research Chairs are funded by the Government of Canada (http://www.chairschaires.gc.ca/chairholders-titulaires/profile-eng.aspx?profileId=2417). Funding for the Development of the Age-Friendly Communities Research Team was provided by the Healthy Aging Research Program. Funding for the survey development and administration was provided by the Memorial University V.P. Research. Dr. Irene Hardill’s research is supported by a series of grants from The Economic and Social Research Council, and includes a New Dynamics of Ageing research grant on sustaining IT use by older people, a collaborative PhD with the Institute of Volunteering Research (IVR), a National Centre for Research Methods network on user engagement (2011–12) and a series of public policy seminars in partnership with ESRC and the IVR (2011–12). In-kind contributions were received from the City of St.John’s Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Seniors.

Dr. Sandra Pike-MacDonald

Professor, School of Nursing, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland Labrador, Canada

Dr. Irene Hardill

Professor of Public Policy, Director of the Northumbria Centre for Civil Society and Citizenship, Department of Social Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcase Upon Tyne, NE1 8ST, UK

Professor Irene Hardill AcSS is Professor of Public Policy in the Dept of Social Sciences at Northumbria University. She has an expertise in volunteering and the voluntary and community sector, demography and ageing, and knowledge exchange. Her current research is supported by a series of grants from the ESRC, and includes a NDA research grant on sustaining IT use by older people, a collaborative PhD with the Institute of Volunteering Research (IVR), an NCRM Methods network on user engagement (2011–12) and a series of public policy seminars in partnership with ESRC and the IVR (2011–12). She has just completed the Process and Impact Review of the Engaging Scottish Local Authorities Scheme (ESRC/SFC), and an ESRC CASE studentship with AgeUK, Her research has been supported by Leverhulme Trust, Age Concern England, the English Regions Network, the Canadian High Commission, and the French Government. Professor Hardill has produced over 100 publications, including six books. Her work has been featured in five ESRC publications for its academic and wider impact. She has just published a book Enterprising Care: Unpaid voluntary action in the 21st century for Policy Press with Dr Sue Baines, and co-edited a special issue of Social Policy and Society.

Dr. Veeresh Gadag

Professor, Division of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty of medicine, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, Canada

Devonne Ryan

Community Health and Humanities, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland Labrador, Canada

Dr. Jared Clarke

Community Health and Humanities, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland Labrador, Canada