The World Health Organization has recently defined what age-friendly communities are, something that Peter Benedict St Andrews has long been interested in. Essentially, it means that they are communities in which elderly individuals feel safe and welcomed. They may be a small community or something as large as an entire geographical region. What sets them apart, however, is that they are locations in which older adults are supportive and that are friendly towards their needs. The environment itself is friendly towards their age, but also enables them to be engaged civically and access a range of resources and services older adults may need.
Peter Benedict St Andrews’ Framework for Age-Friendly Communities
Peter has developed a framework for age-friendly communities based on the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, the WHO is working together with a range of other global agencies in order to ensure that community planning includes an age-friendly animal. The American Association of Retired Persons is the partner organization that the WHO has chosen in the USA. This organization has millions of members and they have recently created an age-friendly calculator, which Peter, in turn, has used to ensure his developments meet the necessary requirements.
The calculator looks at a number of important factors, including:
- The built environment, which includes the quality of the neighborhood, transportation, and housing.
- The natural resources, which includes parks, water, and clean air.
- The health care system, including quality of health care, access to care, and prevention methods that are in place.
- The level of community engagement and opportunity for engagement. This includes volunteering and work opportunities, recreational facilities, art and music, social opportunities, and civic engagement.
Why Age-Friendliness Matters
According to Peter, the framework is important because it will ensure that newly built communities are inclusive of the needs of the elderly. Traditionally, these communities have more affordable, yet high quality, housing and they tend to be safer as well. Furthermore, they offer better health ratings, excellent public transportation, and a range of other amenities. Also, they offer a well-tended, beautiful natural environment, with greenery and parks. Last but not least, a lot of opportunities are put in place to ensure elderly people can have an active social life as well.
When age-friendly ratings are in place, they enable property developers to create better communities. Meanwhile, it also enables elderly people to identify the community in which they would like to live and have a positive future. It also helps policy makers to identify which communities are the most age-friendly and how people benefit from this.
According to Peter, this is very important work. It will ensure that people feel welcome, safe, and at home in their communities and this has a positive cumulative effect. When elderly people remain healthy and happy, they continue to contribute to the community as well. This, in turn, serves as a role model for everybody else within the community, who can then build it up for themselves and the next generation.