Creating age friendly communities

An age friendly community is a place where you can stay connected, healthy, active and respected – whatever your age.

What are age friendly communities?

The World Health Organization started the global Age-Friendly Cities Project in 2006. There are now many countries taking part with hundreds of cities and communities involved.

An age friendly community:

  • respects the rights of older people
  • celebrates older people – including their capacities, resources, lifestyles and preferences
  • responds to the growing diversity of older people, for example disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and religion or beliefs
  • values older people and makes it easier for everyone to participate in community life
  • connects people across all ages.

This helps older people to:

  • stay connected with each other
  • stay active and healthy
  • live with dignity and enjoyment
  • feel that they are treated with respect.

Age-friendly world – World Health Organization

Age friendly Aotearoa New Zealand

By 2034, more than one in five New Zealanders will be 65 or over – approximately 1.2 million people.

In 2018 New Zealand was accepted as an affiliate member of the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities. Hamilton and New Plymouth have also joined the network as cities, and many other New Zealand communities are also looking at ways to create an age friendly environment.

Creating an age friendly community

Based on the WHO’s Age friendly framework, areas that communities can focus on to become more age friendly include:

  • outdoor spaces and buildings
  • transportation
  • housing
  • social participation
  • respect and social inclusion
  • civic participation and employment
  • communication and information
  • community support and health services.

The process should be a partnership between older people, services, NGOs, and the local council.


  • it is important to get people involved throughout the community
  • start by looking at what your community has already begun, or achieved, and build on that
  • it’s important to get buy-in and support from community leaders, not just officials.

How we can help

We provide advice, resources and support, including a small grants programme, to help create age friendly communities in New Zealand.

Funding for age friendly communities

Age friendly resources

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