November 30, 2023

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Cambridge named a World Health Organization age-friendly city

The City of Cambridge says its membership in the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities signals an even stronger commitment to the quality life of the aging adults in the community

The City of Cambridge has achieved its goal to become a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities.

As a member of the WHO network, Cambridge will be part of a growing global movement of communities, cities and other sub-national levels of government that are striving to better meet the needs of older residents.

Cambridge has committed to sharing and promoting the values and principles central to the WHO Age-friendly approach, implementing the four steps to create age-friendly local environments, and actively participating in the Network, including sharing experiences with other members.

“Our new membership will help us elevate the work we have been doing to value and support our older adult community,” said Nicole Cichello, supervisor of older adult services. “We are excited to join a group of like-minded teams, sharing and learning together as we develop programs and services to help them live safe, active and meaningful lives.” 

Last fall the city and council agreed to hire a part-time recreation coordinator at an annual cost of cost $57,269 to help the city achieve its goal of becoming an Age-Friendly City at the request of the Cambridge Council on Aging (CCOA).

Over the last several months, efforts were made to improve accessibility, walkability and safety; reduce isolation, improve inclusion and intergenerational connections; improve quality of life and improved access and awareness of health and community services.

“This is an important development for Cambridge,” said Mayor Jan Liggett in the release. “As an Age-Friendly City, we commit to listening to the needs of our older adults so that we might  better serve our aging population;  while ensuring that local policies, programs, and services are inclusive and support social and physical environments.”

The WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities was established in 2010 to connect cities, communities and organizations worldwide with the common vision of making their community a great place to grow old in.

As a response to global population ageing and rapid urbanization, it focuses on action at the local level that fosters the full participation of older people in community life and promotes healthy and active ageing.

The mission of the Network is to stimulate and enable cities and communities around the world to become increasingly age-friendly. The Network seeks to do this by inspiring change by showing what can be done and how it can be done; connecting cities and communities worldwide to facilitate the exchange of information, knowledge and experience; and supporting cities and communities to find appropriate innovative and evidence-based solutions.

Membership to the Network is not an accreditation for age-friendliness. Rather, it reflects cities’ commitment to listen to the needs of their ageing population, assess and monitor their age-friendliness and work collaboratively with older people and across sectors to create age-friendly physical and social environments. Membership is also a commitment to share experience, achievements and lessons learnt with other cities and communities.

The City of Cambridge already offers a variety of health services, volunteer programs, and recreation programs that are geared towards the 50+ population.

The city says its membership in the WHO network signals an even stronger commitment to the quality life of the aging adults in the community.

For more information about programs and services for older adults in the community visit the senior services page on the city’s website.