An age-friendly community is one in which older people are valued, respected and actively engaged in their community. They can stay in touch with people they care about and find the services and support they need. Age-friendly communities are more liveable for everyone.
On 20 April 2016, the Queensland Government launched Queensland: an age-friendly community - strategic direction statement which will provide a framework that builds on the existing work and investment made by government.
The strategic direction statement was developed following an extensive consultation process that involved many people across the state including people from multicultural communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and the LGBTI community. The Queensland Government has also held forums with community and seniors groups, university experts, local government, the Australian Government and state government agencies.
There were also more than 9,000 responses to an online community survey on how Queensland can be more age-friendly.
An action plan to implement the strategic direction statement is being developed for release later in 2016.
What is age-friendly?
There is an increasing emphasis on planning towards ‘age-friendly’ cities and communities that are designed to value the contribution of older people and ensure their access to all aspects of community life.
The World Health Organization developed an Age-Friendly Cities model in 2007 and more recently an Age-Friendly World model. These models are based on 8 domains that assess a community’s age-friendliness, which are:
- outdoor spaces and building
- respect and social inclusion
- social participation
- communication and information
- civic participation and employment opportunities
- community support and health services.
The age-friendly approach is recognised globally as a useful and effective way to improve the lives of older people. However, it also benefits people of all ages.
An age-friendly community ensures people are free from age-related barriers that prevent their participation and inclusion. Older people are most likely to experience these type of barriers so they are likely to benefit most from an age-friendly approach.
Policies, services and structures are designed to support and enable older people to live in safety, enjoy good health, and continue to participate fully in society, accessing services as needed.
Queensland has an ageing population, a trend that is consistent with many countries across the world. About 14% of Queensland's population (or nearly 660,000 people) was aged 65 years and over in 2014. This is projected to rise to almost 20% by 2036.