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Older adults' perceptions of age-friendly communities in Canada: a photovoice study

  • SHEILA NOVEK (a1) and VERENA H. MENEC (a2)


The concept of age-friendly communities has garnered international attention among researchers, policy makers and community organisations since the World Health Organization launched its Global Age-friendly Cities Project in 2006. Despite the growth of the age-friendly communities movement, few studies have examined age-friendly characteristics within different community contexts. The goal of the present study was to use a participatory methodology to explore older adults’ perceptions of age-friendliness. The study employed the photovoice technique with 30 community-based older adults in one urban community and three rural communities in the province of Manitoba, Canada. Participants were provided with cameras and took photographs to illustrate the relative age-friendliness of their communities and to generate discussion in interviews and focus groups. Themes from photographs, interviews and focus groups were organised into three broad categories: age-friendly features, contextual factors and cross-cutting themes. The age-friendly features we identified in this study generally correspond to the World Health Organization domains of age-friendliness. In addition, we identified three contextual factors that impact the experiences of older adults within their community environment: community history and identity, ageing in urban, rural and remote communities, and environmental conditions. Finally, independence, affordability and accessibility were identified as cross-cutting themes that intersect with various community features and contextual factors.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Sheila Novek, Centre on Aging, 338 Isbister Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3 T 2N2, Canada. E-mail:


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Older adults' perceptions of age-friendly communities in Canada: a photovoice study

  • SHEILA NOVEK (a1) and VERENA H. MENEC (a2)


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