Age-and dementia friendly communities strive to improve the environmental, economic, and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) supports a framework of “active aging” through age-friendly cities and towns. This framework looks at the determinants of active aging (e.g., social, economic, behavioral, personal, etc.) along with other age-friendly aspects of communities (e.g. transportation, housing, social participation, outdoor spaces, etc.).

In Massachusetts, this approach aligns with dementia friendly strategies to create a combined framework that can inform how communities can improve their social and physical environments for all. This all relies upon community engagement so that cities, towns and regions can create relevant, resident-informed plans to become more age and dementia friendly.

This framework shows areas of focus, but based on feedback, communities can implement any combination of these and additional strategies.

One option is to join an age-friendly network. The WHO established a Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities to support communities who are taking active steps toward becoming more age-friendly. The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities is the U.S. affiliate of the WHO network.

Communities looking to become more dementia friendly can sign a pledge available through Dementia Friendly Mass/Mass Councils on Aging.

To help integrate equity, access and inclusion into all of these local and regional initiatives, MHAC developed the Healthy Aging for All Guide.

MHAC also posts funding opportunities, research, resources and other relevant updates in our weekly newsletter and blog.

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