Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative

Niagara Age-FriendlyThe Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative promotes awareness of age-friendly principles and local action toward making Niagara a more age-friendly community for all ages.

This 3-year project is led by community partners:

  • Rose City Seniors Foundation
  • Niagara Region
  • City of Welland
  • Welland Senior Citizens’ Advisory Committee
  • Niagara Connects (formerly Niagara Research and Planning Council)

Ontario Trillium FoundationFunding is provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Click here to link to the Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative website.


World Health Organization (WHO) Age-Friendly Environments Programme

age-1The Niagara project is based on the (WHO) Age-friendly Environments Programme, ‘an international effort to address the environmental and social factors that contribute to active and healthy ageing’.  The WHO is helping ‘cities and communities become more supportive of older people by addressing their needs across eight dimensions:

  • the built environment,
  • transport,
  • housing,
  • social participation,
  • respect and social inclusion,
  • civic participation and employment,
  • communication, and
  • community support and health services’.

Click here to read more about the WHO Programme.

The WHO Global Age Friendly Cities Guide (2007, 82 pages) is designed ‘to engage cities to become more age-friendly so as to tap the potential that older people represent for humanity. It describes the converging trends of rapid growth of the population over 60 years of age and of urbanization, outlines the challenge facing cities, and summarizes the research process that led to identifying the core features of an age-friendly city’.  Click here to access the Guide.


Seniors in Niagara:  Creating Age-Friendly Communities Policy Brief

The Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative project launch event in 2010 featured highlights from a policy brief prepared by the Niagara Community Observatory at Brock University, entitled “Seniors in Niagara:  Creating Age-Friendly Communities (October, 2009), available in two versions on Brock’s website:

Policy Brief #2a Seniors in Niagara: Creating Age-Friendly Communities (October 1, 2009)

Policy Brief #2b Seniors in Niagara: Creating Age-Friendly Communities (October 1, 2009) (Version with references)


Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative Project Evaluation:

Niagara Connects is facilitating evaluation for the Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative.  The purpose of the evaluation is to:

  • Track project progress, accomplishments
  • Provide relevant, reliable information for community partners, volunteers
  • Inform evidence-based community action
  • Document the Niagara-wide community’s experience for future learning.

Year 1 Pilot Phase – the Welland Age-Friendly Experience:

Between April 2010 and March 2011, 125 citizens were engaged through a total of 26 community presentations and 10 consultations (primarily Welland citizens, a few from Port Colborne and Pelham, as well as some inter-municipal agency representatives).  Of these, 76 older adults from Welland were involved in 3 Age-Friendly focus groups conducted by the Niagara Age-Friendly Community Coordinator, based on the World Health Organization (WHO) Vancouver protocol

Three main themes for age-friendly community action arose from the Welland pilot phase:

  • A community culture of valuing older adults
  • Better communication practices
  • Improve accessibility for all.

The Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative Year 1 Evaluation Narrative (September, 2011) summarizes the pilot (Welland) phase (24 page pdf).

Click here for a 2-page summary (pdf) about Year 1 of the Niagara-Age-Friendly Community Initiative.


Niagara-Wide Age-Friendly Community Action – Years 2 and 3:

Engaged citizens’ input, and lessons learned during Year 1 in Welland informed growth of the Niagara Age-Friendly Initiative within each of Niagara’s local municipalities, during 2011 and 2012.

Twelve Age-Friendly roundtable conversations, including over 100 citizens, caregivers and service providers were held between November 2011 and April 2012, in Fort Erie, Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham, Port Colborne, St Catharines, Thorold, Wainfleet, and West Lincoln.  These focus groups resulted in a qualitative report, designed to begin to isolate elements of Age-Friendly community principles requiring further description and refinement, leading to local Age-Friendly community action across Niagara.  Themes that emerged largely aligned with those from the pilot phase:

  • Respect and Appreciation
  • Information Availability and Knowledge Transfer
  • Access and Mobility

The report includes a profile of older adults in Niagara and a community profile for each of the 12 local municipalities:   Niagara-wide Themes of Age-Friendly Roundtable Conversations November 2011 – April 2012 .  (29 pages, pdf)

A two-page summary document is available by clicking here.

Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative Final Evaluation ReportThe Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative project is now complete.

Please click here to download the evaluation summary:  Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative Year 3 Final Evaluation Report – April 2013 (pdf, 30 pages).