Ageing and Life Course

WHO Age-friendly Environments Programme

Background

In 2008, for the first time in history, the majority of the world's population lived in cities. Urban populations will continue to grow in the future. It is estimated that around 3 out of every 5 people will live in an urban area by 2030.

At the same time, as cities around the world are growing, their residents are growing older. The proportion of the global population aged 60 will double from 11% in 2006 to 22% by 2050.

Making cities and communities age-friendly is one of the most effective local policy approaches for responding to demographic ageing. The physical and social environments are key determinants of whether people can remain healthy, independent and autonomous long into their old age.

Older persons play a crucial role in their communities - they engage in paid or volunteering work, transmit experience and knowledge, and help their families with caring responsibilities. These contributions can only be ensured if they enjoy good health and if societies address their needs.

About the WHO Age-friendly Environments Programme

The WHO Age-friendly Environments Programme is an international effort to address the environmental and social factors that contribute to active and healthy ageing.

The Programme helps cities and communities become more supportive of older people by addressing their needs across eight dimensions: the built environment, transport, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication, and community support and health services.

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