Boston striving to be an age-friendly city

The City of Boston, in partnership with AARP, recently launched its first Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan, which will act as a blueprint to improve life for Boston’s older adults in the next three years, according to a press release.

The plan began to form in 2014 when Mayor Martin Walsh signed onto the World Health Organization’s (WHO) network of Age-Friendly Cities and launched the Age-Friendly Boston Initiative. An age-friendly society is defined as one that focuses on designing livable communities that promote good health, strong civic participation, and clear communication.

In the first phase of the initiative, the City conducted listening sessions to hear from over 4,000 older residents throughout Boston about the strengths and weaknesses of growing older in Boston. After this community engagement and data analysis, Boston’s Elderly Commission developed 75 action items in the plan.

The Age-Friendly Boston Action plan is organized around eight main concerns: housing; transportation; outdoor spaces and buildings; community health and support services; employment and civic engagement; social participation; respect and social inclusion; and communications and information.

“Older Bostonians are the fastest growing segment of Boston’s population, and we’re focused on making Boston as friendly and inclusive as possible to residents aging in our City,” said Walsh, according to the press release. “This action plan represents Boston’s commitment to working with the community, identifying concerns, and providing real, impactful solutions.”

The Elderly Commission partnered with UMass Boston Gerontology Institute and was supported by a grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to conduct research based on the guidelines set forth by the WHO.

Mike Festa, AARP Massachusetts director, said according to the press release, “There is a pressing need to create livable communities for people of all ages. In less than 15 years, one out of every five people in the country will be 65 or older, a demographic shift that will be felt in every community. The City of Boston’s Age-Friendly Action Plan can provide a model to inspire even more creativity and sharing of best practices to spur innovation in making all communities great places for people of all ages.”

To view the complete Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan and Fact Sheet, visit

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