Age-friendly cities foster physical health and mental well-being of people as they age in their community. An Age-Friendly city enhances quality of life by addressing dimensions in the physical and social environment that support active aging. Age-Friendly cities are accessible, equitable, inclusive, safe and secure, and supportive. Because optimal aging is a lifelong process, an Age Friendly city in fact benefits people of all ages. The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided international leadership in identifying the characteristics of Age-Friendly Cities. They have done this by creating a framework and guides for communities that aspire to become Age-Friendly.
Active aging is a term created by the World Health Organization, which refers to the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security, in order to enhance quality of life for people as they age.
Early in the development of the Age-Friendly movement, the Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA) recognized the value of Age Friendly, and became a champion for Hamilton becoming an Age Friendly city. HCoA prepared two inaugural reports: Hamilton: A City for ALL Ages (2010), and Hamilton: A City for ALL Ages. Three Years On (2013).
In 2012, Hamilton City Council endorsed the development of an Age Friendly plan as a strategic priority for Hamilton. With this commitment, HCoA went on to partner with the City of Hamilton, and the City’s Senior Advisory Committee to develop Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly City. Aligned with the WHO framework, our goals address: Housing, Getting Around Hamilton, Communication & Information, Health & Community Services, Social Participation, Civic Engagement and Age Friendly Public Service. The Hamilton Council on Aging, together with our two partners, are co-leading the implementation of Hamilton’s Plan. Today, the WHO coordinates a global network of over 300 cities that have embraced the Age Friendly framework and are taking steps to become Age Friendly. In 2014, Hamilton applied and was accepted as a member of the WHO Global Network for Age Friendly Cities and Communities, in recognition of our efforts to becoming Age Friendly. In 2016, the City of Hamilton updated its strategic vision, “To be the best place to raise a child and age successfully.” Go to the Top
Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly City (HPAFC) was developed through a process that included research, consultations and validation. Over 700 older adults, municipal staff and community stakeholders contributed to its development. Planing for an Age-Friendly Hamilton: What We Heard provides a summary of what we learned during the consultation phase. Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly City (HPAFC) includes a vision and principles to inform policies, influence infrastructure and enhance services in Hamilton. Our Plan has 7 goals, 25 objectives and recommends 100+ actions, based on the consultations which identified gaps and challenges, as well as what is working well in our city. Actions in the plan are categorized according to short, medium and long-term timelines for implementation. Hamilton’s Plan for an Age Friendly City is considered a “living” document and can be refreshed, as necessary. HPAFC aligns with other good work currently underway in Hamilton, including the Pedestrian Mobility Plan, the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan, and the Master Transportation Plan. It also aligns with provincial legislation, such as the accessibility standards which have been developed under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Since City Council’s endorsement of Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly City in 2014, the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Council on Aging, and the Seniors Advisory Committee have been partnering through a Collaborative Governance Committee to steward the Plan’s implementation. Implementation is also informed by our Community Engagement Advisory Committee, composed of community-based organizations, as well as staff from the City working in the community. This Committee increases awareness of the Plan, and serve as champions within their networks to connect people with opportunities to support Hamilton becoming an Age-Friendly city. We are a City with a commitment to becoming Age Friendly – and advancing this goal is a shared responsibility. It requires planning and action by all levels of government, non-profit organizations, the private sector, and the broader community. In 2016, we developed the wordmark “Age Friendly Hamilton”, to recognize broad-based efforts are occurring both within and beyond the official Plan, which collectively contribute to Hamilton becoming an Age Friendly city. Go to the Top
- Housing choice is affordable, available, and safeTransit
- Transit options enable seniors to get around Greater HamiltonOutdoor Spaces and Public Places
- Outdoor spaces and public places are accessible, safe, and inviting
- Communication and information is easy to access and understand
- Health and community services support aging-in-place
- Civic Engagement: Meaningful volunteer and employment opportunities
Reports to the Community
- Where We Are Today: Hamilton’s Journey to Becoming an Age-Friendly City – March, 2016
- Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly City. 2015-2016 Progress Report – March, 2016
- 2016 Community Progress Report- Age Friendly Hamilton – March, 2017
- Age Friendly Hamilton Community Profile, March 2017
Please link to the City of Hamilton for municipal reports related to Age Friendly Hamilton: Age Friendly Hamilton. Strategies & Actions.
Effective communication ensures that information is received as intended, and acquired as desired. It is one of the dimensions of an Age-Friendly community. Seniors indicate they want information about people, events, services, infrastructure and businesses, communicated through age-inclusive design. Guide and Checklist for Age Friendly Communication Profiles age-inclusive design of print, internet, telephone communication, and some pointers about in-person contact. Use the checklist as a tool to identify recommended practices in age-friendly communication, assess your current practices, and guide areas for improvement.
- Age-Friendly Communication. Tips, Facts, and Ideas. Public Health Agency of Canada, 2010. How to Make Websites Accessible. Government of Ontario. Retrieved December 2016.
- Tips for Landlords: Connecting Tennants with the Community, March 2017Hamilton Council on Aging, March 2017
- Let’s Take a Walk. An Age-Friendly Guide to 18 of Hamilton’s Outdoor Recreational Trails is a guide provides information about Hamilton area trails, including maps, pictures, walkability, and points of interest. Information on how to access the trails using public transit (HSR) is also provided.
Promoting Walkable Neighbourhoods
Walkable neighbourhoods promote health and well-being, foster social connections and generate a sense of belonging in your community. Everyone benefits from walking. The City of Hamilton has endorsed the International Charter for Walking, which supports actions that
- reduce physical, social & institutional barriers to walking
- create well-designed places and spaces to walk in comfort and safety
- encourage walking.
The purpose of the Hamilton Pedestrian Mobility Plan is to develop safe, interesting and inclusive pedestrian environments. A key feature of this Plan is “routine accommodation”. Conditions for pedestrians, such as intersections, sidewalks and benches, are intended to be routinely improved with every roadwork project the City undertakes. Not all neighbourhoods are well designed for walkability, yet. Hamilton’s Plan for An Age-Friendly City, supports actions that foster active transportation, including walkable neighbourhoods.
Resources to promote Walkable Neighbourhoods
- Report: Walkability in 8 Hamilton Neighbourhoods: In 2010, eight Hamilton neighbourhoods having a high concentration of seniors were assessed for walkability by seniors, working alongside university students. The neighbourhoods surveyed were: Beasley; Church of the Ascension; the area around St. Peter’s Hospital; Ottawa Street; Riverdale; Jamesville; Upper Gage and Fennell; and Sackville Hill.
- All Season Age Friendly Pedestrian Safety and Walkability Checklist: Use this easy-to-use Checklist to audit the walkability and safety of areas in Hamilton that you wish to walk in. Information on how to forward concerns and suggestions for improvement are provided.
- Guide for Age Friendly Communication:This Guide is to accompany the All Season Age Friendly Pedestrian Safety and Walkability Checklist. It provides detailed information and explanations on the features being assessed in the Checklist.