Age Friendly Seattle is a citywide initiative that aims to make our communities a great place to grow up and grow old.

Since 2016, Seattle has been part of the global age-friendly movement. Having wrapped up our first 5-year action plan amidst a waning pandemic, we are now in our second iteration of concerted efforts to holistically address the needs of Seattle’s aging population. Check out our highlights over the years or read our full reports and action plan.

Why is this work important?

Around the globe, populations are aging. The United Nations has declared 2021-2030 the Decade of Healthy Aging, and the WHO has called for communities around the world to become more “age friendly” in order to meet the growing needs of older adults. Here in the U.S., 1 in 4 people is projected to be over age 60 by the year 2050 and starting in 2034, the number of older people is expected to outnumber children in our country. In the Puget Sound region, the percentage of older adults is anticipated to grow by 85% between 2020-35. As people live longer, many will experience disabilities. Communities must prepare to address the health, economic, and social needs of an aging population.

What is an "age-friendly" city?

An age-friendly city is a community in which people can grow up and grow old with ease. The World Health Organization (WHO) determined specific environmental, economic, and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults. These are sometimes called the "8 Domains" of livability.

  • Transportation: Community mobility is essential to optimal aging. Age Friendly Seattle supports safe, reliable, and easy-to-use travel options—including accessible and affordable public transit, rideshare, walking, and biking—to get people of all ages where they need to go.
  • Housing: Older adults want to age in place—stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible—and benefit from living in affordable, age-friendly housing. Age Friendly Seattle supports diverse housing options that allow older adults of all incomes to live in clean, safe, comfortable, and well-maintained housing that meets their access needs.
  • Outdoor Spaces and Buildings: People need public places to gather—indoors and out. Age Friendly Seattle supports parks and other green spaces, safe streets, sidewalks, outdoor seating, and accessible buildings that are universally designed and can be used and enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.
  • Social Participation: Social participation and physical activity are essential for both quality of life and longevity. Age Friendly Seattle supports learning, fitness, social, cultural, and spiritual activities for older adults as well as intergenerational activities that are accessible, affordable, safe, and fun.
  • Respect and Social Inclusion: Everyone deserves to feel valued. Age Friendly Seattle celebrates and draws upon the wisdom and experience of older adults, encourages intergenerational and multicultural understanding, works to eliminate ageism, and prioritizes the language access needs of Seattle's diverse aging population.
  • Civic Participation and Employment: Whether working for pay or volunteering time and talent, many older adults find value in contributing to their communities. Age Friendly Seattle supports services for mature jobseekers who need or want to work, promotes age-friendly business practices, and encourages older adults to share their skills to address community needs.
  • Community and Health Services: All people should have access to affordable health care and community services that help them live comfortably and with dignity. Age Friendly Seattle supports coordination and promotion of services to help meet the needs of older adults and caregivers.
  • Communication and Information: Older adults receive information in a variety of ways, and no one way reaches every person. Age Friendly Seattle promotes accessible print and digital communications, and community partnerships that increase access to information that older adults need for optimal aging.

What role does Age Friendly Seattle play?

As a citywide initiative, our role is to ensure that the needs of older adults are recognized and prioritized. We do this by administering some of our own programs—such as age-friendly discounts and events—as well as by exercising our role as connector, convenor, and advocate. That might include compiling and sharing data to inform transportation or housing plans, hosting a cross-disciplinary educational forum on accessible events and spaces, or encouraging stakeholder collaboration around emergency preparedness for older adults.

For more information, e-mail agefriendly@seattle.gov.