The age-friendly recognition process

The concept of age-friendly communities was first developed as a World Health Organisation (WHO) initiative to identify the changes needed for cities and communities to adapt to and benefit from globally ageing populations. 

In an age-friendly community, public bodies, local groups, businesses and residents work together to make changes to support people to lead happy, healthy and independent lives and to continue to do things that matter to them as they get older.

Age-friendly communities recognise that older people are ‘experts by experience’ and should have a say in decisions made which affect them and their communities. Being age-friendly means designing our communities and services with older people, not just for them.

In recent years, interest in age-friendly communities has grown internationally, with the development of UK and global networks of age-friendly cities and communities and the website Age-Friendly World which showcases good practice from around the world.

In Wales, every local authority has signed the Dublin Declaration, a commitment to the development and support of age-friendly communities.

The Older People’s Commissioner wants to make Wales the best country in the world to grow older and sees the development of age-friendly communities that enables everyone to age well as key to this goal.

How can communities get recognised as age-friendly?

Town, community and county councils can be officially recognised as age-friendly by joining the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities & Communities.

As well as the global network, there is also an affiliated UK Network of Age-Friendly Communities, hosted by the Centre for Ageing Better.

In order to apply to the UK or global networks, the relevant council leader must make a written commitment to actively work towards becoming a great place to grow old in, done with the support and engagement of older people and relevant stakeholders.

The Commissioner’s Ageing Well team are working directly with councils to support them to achieve recognition. To find out more, contact the team on 02920 445 030 or at