Age-Friendly Communities: Creating a conducive environment for the elderly in India


  • Sameen Rafi Department of Social Work, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Shyna Saif Department of Social Work, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India



India is one of the nations in the world where the population is undergoing anomalous demographic changes. The increase in longevity and decrease fertility lead to the boom of older people aged 60 and above both in relative and absolute terms. Due to the rise in number, it creates pressure not only on the family but the responsibility shifts to the government also. This issue becomes a significant social problem not only in India but across the globe. The government had taken action by creating policies and programs to provide services to them. Still, the majority of the elderly population is lacking behind in these areas like health facilities, infrastructure, living arrangements suffering from isolation, loneliness, abuse, crime. Nowadays, smart city initiatives are taken by the government across the country but still in process. To involve and facilitate more cities for “age-friendly”, the World Health Organization develop the Global Age-Friendly Cities Guide and a manual “Checklist of Essential Features of Age-Friendly Cities”. Cooperating with 35 urban communities from developed and developing nations, the WHO oversees eight highlights for age-accommodating urban areas in the space of urban life. This paper had an objective to study and understand exiting literature on age-friendly communities in developed and developing countries and draw attention to the need to create age-friendly cities in India. The realization of the needs and demands of older people, the Indian government should give attention to promote and implement more age-friendly communities all over the country. This initiative till now taken in 3 states, i.e., Delhi, Udaipur, and Kolkata-which involved in age-friendly community initiatives collaborated with WHO. In this era of a rapid aging sphere, the communities have to enhance in such a manner where the older population can meet their needs quickly without any conflicts and problem. To conclude, the government and policymaker should emphasize the policies into practices to build age-friendly communities across the country and make better living conditions for “allages”. For timely action and productive recommendation, it is an urgent need on the part of the government, policymakers, researchers, social workers to develop and enhance the community’s facilities, which can gain confidence and wellbeing of the elderly in India.


Age-friendly communities, Elderly, Wellbeing, Social care


[1] World Health Organization. Age-Friendly World. 01 September 2015. [Online]. Available:

[2] Arunika Agarwal, Alyssa Lubet, Elizabeth Mitgang, Sanjay Mohanty, David E. Bloom. Population Aging in India: Facts, Issues, and Options. Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Germany, 2016.

[3] United Nations. World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision. United Nations Deptartment of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, Geneva, 2015.

[4] G. Giridhar, K.M. Sathyanarayana, Sanjay Kumar, K.S. James, Moneer Alam, Population Ageing in India, India: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

[5] World Health Organization. The Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities.Looking back over the last decade, looking forward to the next. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 2018.[6] World Health Organization. [Online]. Available: trends/data/chi/elderly-population/en/

[6] Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. Improving Quality of Life of Senior Citizens in Residential Neighbourhoods in the Indian Context. Mhrd, Govt. of India, India, 2014.

[7] World Health Organization. Checklist of Essential Features of Age-friendly Cities. World Health Organization, 2007.

[8] Kalache, Louise Plouffe, Alexandre. Towards global age-friendly cities: determining urban features that promote active aging. Journal of Urban Health, 2010: 733-739.

[9] G. Gawron and P. Rojek-Adamek. The Idea of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities as a Response to the Challenges of Contemporary Demographic Changes. In Athens: ATINER’S Conference Paper Series, No: SOC2015-1772, Greece, 2015.

[10] A. S. Barusch. Age-Friendly Cities: A Social Work Perspective. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 2013, 56(6): 465-472.

[11] World Health Organization, 1 October 2012. [Online]. Available: day_older_persons_20121001/en/

[12] AFE-INNOVNET. What are Age-Friendly Environments? Why should European Cities and Regions become more Age-Friendly? 2014.

[13] M. Marilynn L. Transforming New York into an “age-friendly” city: a model program. Journal on Active Aging, 2009: 26-35.

[14] G. Geoff Green. Age-Friendly Cities of Europe. J Urban Health, 2013. 90(Suppl 1): 116-128.

[15] J. M., Paul McGarry. A great place to grow older: a case study of how Manchester is developing an age-friendly city. Working with Older People, 2011, 15(1): 38-46.

[16] Lui C.W, Everingham J.A, Warburton J, Cuthill M, Bartlett H. What makes a community age-friendly: A review of international literature. Australas J Ageing, 2009, 28(3): 116-121.

[17] Shanghi Civil Affairs Bureau, “Shanghai aging development report,” 2009.

[18] Cardinia Shire Council. Age Friendly Strategy 2015- 19, 2015.

[19] Fratiglioni L, Paillard-Borg S, Winblad B. An active and socially integrated lifestyle in late life might protect against dementia. The Lancet Neurology, 2004, 3(6): 343-353.

[20] Barbara Horner, Duncan P.Boldy. The benefit and burden of “ageing-in-place” in an aged care community. Australian Health Review, 2008, 32(2): 356-365.

[21] Charles A. Emlet, Joane T. Moceri. The Importance of Social Connectedness in Building Age-Friendly Communities. Journal of Aging Research, 2012: 1-9.

[22] Ming-Ming Lai, Shi-Ying Lein, Siok-Hwa Lau, Ming-Ling Lai. Modeling Age-Friendly Environment, Active Aging, and Social Connectedness in an Emerging Asian Economy. Journal of Aging Research, 2016: 1-14. [24] Buffel T. Social research and co-production with older people: Developing age-friendly communities. J Aging Stud., 2018, 44: 52-60. [25] Fitzgerald K.G, Caro F.G. An overview of age-friendly cities and communities around the world. J Aging Soc Policy, 2014, 26(1-2): 1-18.

[23] Yoshihiko Kadoya. Toward an age-friendly city: the constraints preventing the elderly’s participation in community programs in Akita city. Working with Older People, 2013, 17(3): 101-108.

[24] Ann Bowling. Enhancing later life: How older people perceive active ageing?. Journal Aging & Mental Health, 2008, 12(3): 293-301.

[25] Constança Paúl, Oscar Ribeiro, Laetitia Teixeira. Active Ageing: An Empirical Approach to the WHO Model. Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, 2012: 1-10.

[26] Somi An, YeunSook Lee, Jeong Tai Kim. The effect of the public exercise environment on the physical activity for the active ageing of the elderly. JournalIndoor and Built Environment, 2013, 22(1): 319-331.

[27] HelpAge India. A report on elder abuse & crime in India. HelpAge India, New Delhi, 2011.

[28] Agewell Research & Advocacy Centre. Agewell Study on Isolation in Old Age (January 2010). New Delhi, 2010.

[29] C. Kart, J. Kinney. The realities of aging: An introduction to gerontology. Allyn & Bacon, 2001.

[30] David R. Phillips, Oi-ling Siu, Anthony G.O. Yeh, Kevin H.C.Cheng. Factors Influencing Older Persons’ Residential Satisfaction in Big and Densely Populated Cities in Asia: a Case Study in Hong Kong. Ageing International, 2004, 29(1): 1-25.

[31] National Crime Records Bureau. Crime in India 2016. National Crime Records Bureau,Ministry of Home Affairs,Government of India, New Delhi, 2017.

[32] World Health Organization. Global Age-Friendly Cities Project. Public Health Agency of Canada, the Ministry of Health of British Columbia, 2002.

[33] WHO. Global Age-friendly Cities: A Guide. World Health Organiation, Geneva, 2007.

[34] S. Goel, M. Gupta. Quality of Life of Elderly in Old Age Homes in India. Help Age India Research and Development Journal, 2008, 14(3): 19-23.

[35] Amanda J. Lehning, Anne De Biasi. Creating an Age-Friendly Public Health System: Challenges, Opportunities,and Next Steps. The John A. Hartford Foundation, New York, 2018.

[36] T.Buffel, C. Phillipson, T. Scharf. Ageing in urban environments: Developing “age-friendly” cities. Critical Social Policy, 2012, 32: 597-617.

[37] WHO. Age-Friendly World. 2012. [Online]. Available:

[38] WHO. Age-Friendly World. [Online]. Available: south-delhi/

[39] HelpAge India. Help Age Research Reports. [Online]. Available: helpage-research-reports/

[40] K.M. Sathyanarayana, Jadhav, Apoorva, Kumar, Sanjay, James,K.S. Living Arrangements of the Elderly in India: Who lives alone and what are the patterns of familial support. Busan, Korea: IUSSP, 2013.


How to Cite

Rafi, S., & Saif, S. (2020). Age-Friendly Communities: Creating a conducive environment for the elderly in India. Journal of Geriatric Medicine, 2(2), 17–24.


Article Type