Thematic Panel 2 – Age(ing in the) Friendly City: Global Guidelines / Diverse Realities

Thematic Panel 2

Age(ing in the) Friendly City: Global Guidelines / Diverse Realities   

Conveners and Discussants:

Tamara Daly Ph.D. Professor and Director, York University Centre for Aging Research and Education, School of Health Policy and Management, York University, Canada and Susan Braedley, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, School of Social Work, Carleton University, Canada

Led by the World Health Organization, the Age-Friendly City framework guides cities to be places for all ages, with 700 cities currently holding designation. To receive age-friendly designation, local councils identify strategies across eight domains: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community and health services.

While policy-makers grapple with adopting and implementing age-friendly strategies, they face growing diversity amongst seniors. Women make up a higher proportion of the oldest old.  In Toronto, Canada, one of the world’s most diverse cities, half identify as visible minorities, and nearly two-thirds as immigrants; eighty percent living in Canada twenty years or less are racialized.  New waves of older migrants are moving into European cities, requiring specific supports. Queer communities report discrimination in older age. Urban Indigenous peoples require specialized health and social care services.  Moreover, disability, poverty and aging policies are typically unaligned.

This panel will explore priority-setting for age-friendly cities in multi-scalar ways, attending to how seniors’ diverse needs are addressed and what it means to be age-friendly considering seniors,  as well as their paid and unpaid care providers.  The panel welcomes submissions from scholars studying priorities for age-friendly cities and will take up the following questions:

  • What city-level priorities are included and excluded from age-friendly strategies?
  • To what extent are the priorities and strategies councils adopt addressing gender, culture, disability, racialization, indigeneity, poverty and/or sexual orientation?
  • How are paid and unpaid care providers needs addressed in strategies and priorities?
  • What types of tensions and alignments exist regarding aged care amongst different levels of government and how are these resolved?
  • Finally, what (if any) are promising practices for cities to address the diverse needs of seniors and those who provide their care?