Age-Friendly Cities and Communities

Page updated on: 20/02/2024

An ageing population affects all aspects of society including labour and financial markets, the demand for education, housing, health, long-term care, social protection, transport, information and communication, as well as family structures and intergenerational ties. By following the approach of the World Health Organisation, it allows individuals, local groups, businesses, councils and residents to work together to identify and make changes in both the physical and social environments we live in.

An Age-friendly Community is a place that enables people to age well and live a good later life. Somewhere that people can stay living in their homes, participate in the activities they value, and contribute to their communities, for as long as possible.

The basis for creating age-friendly communities follows the World Health Organisation framework which proposes eight interconnected domains that can help to identify and address barriers to the well-being and participation of ageing residents:

The external environment has a major impact on the mobility, independence and quality of life of older people as they go about their daily lives beyond the comfort of their homes. Accessible communities enable people to stay connected, participate in social activities and access local services and facilities. Well-maintained and well-lit streets, clear signposting, green spaces and public toilets all support older people to stay active and lead independent lives.

Affordable, accessible, reliable and convenient transport options enable people to get out and about and continue to do things that matter to them. Whether going shopping, visiting the cinema, meeting friends or attending a GP appointment, good transport is essential to everyone, particularly in rural areas and for people who do not drive.

Everyone has a right to adequate housing, regardless of age or ability. For many, having a place to call home is at the heart of what it means to age well. Simple modifications and adaptations can enable people to continue to live independently in their own homes. An age-friendly community supports people to make decisions about where they live, whether to stay in their existing homes, or find a new home suitable to their needs near to the people and places that are important to them.

Being able to stay connected with friends and family is essential for ageing well. Age-friendly communities enable older people to take part in a range of social activities, bringing people of all ages together around shared interests. Participating in leisure, social, cultural and spiritual activities in the community fosters seniors’ continued integration with society and helps them stay engaged and informed. Seniors’ participation in social activities helps to prevent social isolation. Seniors want to socialize and integrate with other age groups and cultures in their communities.

Ageism underpins many of the issues currently faced by older people, resulting in older people being treated unfairly, feeling socially excluded and their rights not being respected. Age-friendly communities challenge ageism by bringing people of different ages together and fostering positive images of ageing. An inclusive society encourages older people to participate more in their city’s social, civic and economic life. This, in turn, promotes active ageing.

Older people have diverse interests, and many want to be involved with a broad range of activities such as working, volunteering, being politically active or taking part in local groups or clubs. The skills and experience of older people often go undervalued. Supporting older people to remain in work or to volunteer can provide them with an increased sense of purpose and belonging, which benefits their well-being and the local economy. Older people are an asset to the community, and they continue contributing to their communities after retirement. An age-friendly city and community provides ample opportunities for older people to do so, be it through voluntary or paid employment, and keeps them engaged in the political process.

In order to be involved with community life, you need to know what is happening in your community. Information about events, services and facilities should be available in accessible formats, and in places where people know to look for them. Special care should be taken in ensuring that information is accessible for people with sensory impairments and made available in their language of choice. It’s also important to remember that not all older people are online and may not want to be. 

Accessible and affordable community and health care services are crucial in keeping seniors healthy, independent and active. This involves an appropriate supply of aged care services conveniently located close to where older people live and trained health and social workers to provide these services. Seniors have different health care needs and preferences. A range of services along the continuum of aged care, such as preventive care, geriatric clinics, hospitals, adult day centres, respite care, rehabilitation, residential nursing home care, home care and palliative care, would meet these diverse needs. Health services should also be affordable or support available to cover the costs, to provide seniors with peace of mind that they will be able to receive care regardless of the ability to pay.


Creating an age friendly Wales that upholds older people’s rights and promotes intergenerational solidarity is more pertinent today than ever before. The Welsh Government Strategy for an Ageing Society identifies the development of Age-Friendly Communities as a cross-cutting theme with the aim of “making Wales the best place in the World to grow older”. The Strategy reflects the multi-dimensional nature of ageing and the intersectional nature of people’s experiences to address the range of factors that influence how we age – from our health and transport systems to the way we socialise, work and care for others. The strategy aims to unlock the potential of today’s older people and tomorrow’s ageing society. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act also aims to create a Wales that we all want to live in, now and in the future.

Here in Carmarthenshire, we value the contribution that older people make to our communities. We want to continue to support and promote this alongside sharing their skills and experience. We are committed to ensuring that we are equipped to meet the challenges we may face, as our population ages by ensuring that older people, including those who are most vulnerable, can access the support and services they need to thrive and remain healthy. We want to ensure that the views and opinions of older people are valued and listened to, developing the citizen-centred structures and processes of engagement. This approach will enable older people to have opportunities to be involved in decision-making and can actively influence the design and creation of innovation and change.

Age-friendly cities and communities are designed to account for the wide diversity of older people, promote their autonomy, inclusion and contributions in all areas of community life, respect their decisions and lifestyle choices, and anticipate and respond flexibly to ageing-related needs and preferences. We are committed to working with our communities, partners and residents to increase the age-friendliness of our county and to join the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities & Communities.