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What is an Age-Friendly City?

An age-friendly city adapts its structures and services to be accessible to and inclusive of older people with varying needs and capacities.

In an age-friendly city, policies, services, settings and structures support and enable people to age actively by:

  • recognizing the wide range of capacities and resources among older people;
  • anticipating and responding flexibly to aging-related needs and preferences;
  • respecting their decisions and lifestyle choices;
  • protecting those who are most vulnerable;
  • promoting the inclusion of older adults in, and valuing their contribution to, all areas of community life

Key features of an age-friendly community:

Age-friendly communities are based on the principles of active aging throughout life. As a result, they benefit everyone: children, the young, adults and older persons.

  • Pleasant, secure and physically accessible outdoor spaces and public buildings
  • Well designed, affordable and secure housing choices
  • Well-maintained and accessible roads and walkways
  • Affordable and accessible public transportation
  • Secure neighbourhoods
  • Respectful relationships
  • Supportive health and community services
  • Opportunities to be socially active
  • Opportunities to participate in suitable volunteer, civic and employment positions
  • Information that is easy to access and understand

Source: World Health Organization. Global Age Friendly Cities: a Guide, 2007

Age Friendly Ottawa is a partnership of the Council on Aging of Ottawa, the City of Ottawa, the Centre for Governance of the University of Ottawa and other partners working together through an Ottawa Age Friendly Steering Committee. Our intention is to lead the Age Friendly Ottawa Project over three years (and beyond) using the processes of community engagement and action. This project is based on the World Health Organization Age-Friendly Cities Project and on federal and provincial/territorial Age-Friendly Communities Canada principles.

The age-friendly model is being adopted in cities worldwide as a positive and inspiring framework that promotes active and healthy aging. Making cities more age-friendly is one of the most effective policy approaches for responding to demographic aging. 


Age Friendly Ottawa is hosted by the Council on Aging of Ottawa.

Age Friendly Ottawa is a three-year project that is supported by grants by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Community Foundation of Ottawa and the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

AFO has a Project Director and a project assistant for 1.5 days per week and receives assistance from a number of students and volunteers.


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World Health Organization