Healthy Aging for All

A Guide for Promoting Inclusion in Age-and Dementia-Friendly Communities

This guide includes resources and tools that age-and dementia-friendly community stakeholders can use to promote conversations and take action to reduce inequities. Being more inclusive can broaden the impact of local Age-and Dementia-Friendly initiatives, strengthen communities, and improve access to services and opportunities.

The movement to create inclusive Age- and Dementia- Friendly communities begins with recognizing existing activities within a city, town, or region that supports healthy aging, which can include the following:

  • Improvements to the city or town’s physical environment like improving walkability and accessibility, looking to concepts like “Smart Growth,” and implementing Complete Streets policies and projects;
  • Opportunities to enhance social engagement like intergenerational programs;
  • Creating an environment where older adults can more easily “age-in-place” or “age-in-community” like property tax relief for older homeowners and tax work-off programs, improved transportation options, and access to health and social supports;
  • Improving awareness and education about dementia among different sectors of a community, like first responders and the business community.

If municipalities aim for a complete data gathering, action planning, and implementation process, then all phases of this work must consider all of the community and be representative of its residents. Access, Equity, and Inclusion (AEI) issues are therefore essential for consideration by cities and towns engaged in this process. This tool can assist communities to achieve a greater and broader impact by starting a conversation that ensures equity in all age- and dementia-friendly work.

Thanks to the support from the Healthy Aging Fund, managed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Health Resources in Action (HRiA) in cooperation with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, this guide will be piloted over the next year in three Massachusetts communities – Framingham, Lowell, and West Springfield.

We request that any other communities that use this guide provide feedback, which can be directed to James Fuccione, Senior Director, MHAC.