The concept of an age-friendly city was identified by the World Health Organization (WHO), in response to data indicating that the proportion of the global population aged 60 or older is expected to double from 11% in 2006 to 22% by 2050. As people age and their needs change, communities must also change in order to remain desirable places to live.
The WHO has published a document entitled Global Age-friendly Cities: A Guide (WHO, 2007), which presents barriers and opportunities in daily living identified by older adult focus groups across 33 cities in 22 countries. In addition to the guide, the WHO has created a Checklist of Essential Features of Age-friendly Cities. The checklist is meant to be used by cities to evaluate their age-friendliness across the eight domains of city life listed above, and to use the results to create improvement plans.
The WHO defines an age-friendly city as one that encourages active aging by optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age (WHO, 2007). What that means is that all older people, regardless of ability, need or capacity, should not only be included in all aspects of community life but be recognized for the valuable contribution they make.
The City of North Bay, in association with its community partner, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, worked with MMM Group Limited, a WSP company, to create an Age-Friendly Community Action Plan, which sets out a road map for the community to improve its age-friendliness and ensure all residents can remain active members of the community at every stage of life.
The RUOK program is a voice activated computer program that will phone each subscriber seven days a week at a time predetermined by the subscriber to ensure that they are O.K. and not in need of assistance or help.