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What factors make ‘age-friendly environments’ effective?

A new study has identified the most effective initiatives for promoting respect and social inclusion for older people living in the community.

The study by Newcastle and Liverpool universities, published in the journal Systematic Reviews, aimed to establish what is known about the impacts of initiatives designed to promote respect and social inclusion in later life.

Social inclusion refers to the opportunities for individuals to cultivate social relationships, have access to resources and feel part of the community they live in. Respect in relation to older people, meanwhile, refers to positive attitudes and behaviours towards the elderly, so that they may feel accepted, valued, and appreciated by the community regardless of age.

Supporting older people

Such initiatives have been promoted by the World Health Organisation as part of its drive to encourage ‘age-friendly environments’, which support older people to live independently and in good health for longer, but also optimise health and wellbeing for the wider community.

Dr Nicole Valtorta, Research Associate at Newcastle University’s Institute of Health and Society, co-author of the study, said: “Initiatives that promote social inclusion and respect for older people have the potential to significantly improve people's health and wellbeing.

“This review highlights some of the benefits we know about, but also invites the research, policy and practice communities to think about ways of strengthening the evidence base in areas where there is still quite a bit of uncertainty.”

To read the full article please visit the Newcastle University website.

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