The last Age-friendly Domain:
Social Participation

This final petal of the domains of age-friendliness, social participation, really sums up the overarching goal – to be an active member of one’s community.

Regardless of a person’s age, connecting to others is of utmost importance. As we have watched under COVID, social isolation affects people differently. Some people were able to connect online or through different channels and actively participate. Many, especially those who are not tech-savvy, were not.

That is not to say that being alone is the same as loneliness. People have different comfort levels of being alone and of being with others – and the COVID restrictions will have lasting impacts on our concepts of socializing or getting together with people.

But loneliness can be as physically debilitating as having a chronic illness or disease and have a negative impact on one’s health.
Loneliness and isolation can be countered with having opportunities to socialize and the availability of accessible, affordable and fun social activities. This statement seems simple, but behind it is all the domains we discussed:

  1. Health and support services so that people can actively participate
  2. Appropriate housing so they can live in the community they choose
  3. The ability and opportunity to work/volunteer/participate in civic life
  4. Having reliable information and communications
  5. Welcoming outdoor and public spaces to connect with others
  6. Transportation to get to all of these
  7. Respect and inclusion once they arrive

Now that we have covered the 8 elements, think of how they fit into your work, community and life. Sounds like the kind of place we all want to live in – so let's start building it together

If you missed any of our previous coverage on age-friendly domains,
you can read past issues of NJAAW News and Resources here!