What is an age-friendly city? It is an inclusive and accessible environment that encourages active and healthy living for all residents.
Age-Friendly DC is a coordinated, comprehensive and collective-action effort with goal of ensuring all DC residents are active, connected, healthy, engaged and happy in their environment. It is an overarching policy and community engagement framework, one that involves every aspect of life within three Pillars: Built Environment, Changing Attitudes about Growing Older, and LIfelong Health & Security,.Each Pillar has its work organized around areas of focus or domains.
Implementing the District’s Age-Friendly initiative is a prioity project for the Mayor and has received unanimous support from the DC Council.
The 2023 Age-Friendly DC Task Force has developed opportunities for DC residents of all ages, community members and organizations, businesses, academics and other stakeholders to address concerns about growing older in the District. After evaluating the Age-Friendly DC-coordinated work completed 2012-2017, including ongoing listening sessions with DC residents and thought leaders across DC, recommendations for goals and strategies have been provided to the Mayor's office in the following Pillars and domains:
An individual’s quality of life can be influenced by many things: health, the environment, transportation, and social activity, to name just a few. WHO identified eight categories of influence and the District added six, bringing Age-Friendly DC’s to 14 organized in 3 Pillars. The categories are referred to as domains.
The 14 domains, divided into 3 Pillars will help those involved with Age-Friendly DC to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate and improve. Simply put, the domains provide the focus needed to achieve and maintain progress toward the Age-Friendly City aim to transform the District into an easier city in which to grow older.
The domains by Pillar the District is implementing are:
Pillar 1: Built Environment
1. Outdoor Spaces and Buildings — accessibility to and availability of safe recreational facilities
2. Transportation — safe and affordable modes of private and public transportation
3. Housing — wide range of housing options for older residents, aging in place and other home modification programs
Pillar 2: Changing Attitudes about Growing Older
4. Social Participation — access to leisure and cultural activities and opportunities for older residents to participate in social and civic engagement with their peers and younger people
5. Respect and Social Inclusion — programs to support and promote ethnic and cultural diversity, along with programs to encourage multigenerational interaction and dialogue
6. Civic Participation and Employment — promotion of paid work and volunteer activities for older residents and opportunities to engage in formulation of policies relevant to their lives
7. Communication and Information — promotion of and access to the use of technology to keep older residents connected to their community and friends and family, both near and far
Pillar 3: Lifelong Health and Security
8. Community Support and Health Services — access to homecare services, clinics and programs to promote wellness and active aging.
9. Emergency Preparedness and Resilience — information, education and training to ensure the safety, wellness and readiness of seniors in emergency situations. (District-specific)
10. Abuse, Neglect and Fraud — prevention and prosecution of financial exploitation, neglect, and physical, sexual and emotional abuse of seniors (District-specific)
11. Financial Security - a city where strategies for savings are promoted to have funds for retirement years (District-specific)
12. Lifelong Learning – opportunities to fill knowledge gaps, pursue interests and new career directions (District-specific)
13. Public Safety - residents who are 50 and over feel safe, no matter the time or location (District-specific)
14. Caregiving – those who care for family and friends are supported (District-specific)
Progress toward the Age-friendly City goal
WHO's graphic [PDF] illustrates the process.
The "Cycle of WHO Global Nework of Age-friendly Cities©" includes:
The goal for years 1 and 2 are to:
- involve older people
- assess the age-friendliness
- develop a action plan, and
- identify indicators
For years 3 through 5, the goal is to:
- Implement an action plan, and
- monitor indicators
After year 5, the goal is to evaluate the city's progress, including:
- measure progress
- identify successes and remaining gaps
- sumbit a progress report
- The program maintains a 5-year member cycle
The Age-Friendly DC Coordinator manages the strategic plan implementation and other work of the citywide effort. Contact the coordinator via email, [email protected].