Healthy Aging

The Healthy Aging funding stream supports strategies that:

(1) focus on the eight multi-sector domains of age-friendly communities defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the AARP (see figure below)

(2) emphasize social determinants of health, and

(3) fund policy, systems, and environmental change approaches.

In the first year of funding, housing and transportation were priorities, and efforts that addressed housing or transportation received preference. 

The eight domains of age-friendly communities: transportation, housing, social participation, communication and information, civic participation and employment, respect and social inclusion, community support and health services, outdoor spaces and buildings.

The eight domains of age-friendly communities are transportation, housing, social participation, respect & social inclusion, civic participation & employment, communication & information, community support & health services, and outdoor spaces & buildings. For more information on the eight domains, click here.

The six social determinants of health include:

  • Built environment – encompasses the physical parts of where we live, work, travel and play, including transportation, buildings, streets, and open spaces.
  • Social environment – consists of a community’s social conditions and cultural dynamics.
  • Housing – includes the development and maintenance of safe, quality, affordable living accommodations for all people.
  • Violence and trauma – the use of force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, with the behavior likely to cause harm.
  • Employment – the availability of safe, stable, quality, well-compensated work for all people.
  • Education – refers to a person’s educational attainment – the years or level of overall schooling a person has.

For more information on these social determinants of health, click here. For the full version of the document, click here.

Preference will be given to initiatives that complement other efforts to address the social determinants of health for older adults. Examples of these efforts include Mass in Motion, Community Compact’s Best Practices, and recommendations from the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts.

Below is an example of a current awardee’s PSE change approach that the Healthy Aging Fund has funded. Learn more about PSE change approaches from the DPH program, Mass in Motion.

Example Age-Friendly Fair Housing and CORIs Health Impact Assessment
Initiative Focus Developing practice change based on health impact assessment on policy that affects people with a criminal record to access affordable housing in Springfield, MA. 
Lead Partner Public Health Institute of Western MA
The Issue Although adults aged 60 and older are eligible for public housing and subsidized housing through Springfield Housing Authority and other private housing providers, there is a distinct lack of affordable and appropriate housing for the aging population in Springfield. Based on a recently completed Age Friendly City housing assessment in Springfield, CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) checks are an obstacle to accessing public housing for older Black men.
The Solution Conduct a health impact assessment (HIA) on policy and practice proposals that affect the ability of people with a criminal record (as shown through a Criminal Offender Record Information [CORI] check) in Springfield, MA to secure housing. The ultimate goal is to create policy or practice change to improve health and equity through a six-step process that includes:
1. Screening – identify the policy or practice change that is of most concern.
2. Scoping – identify research questions of greatest interest to community stakeholders and decision-makers, and create the research and engagement plan.
3. Assessment – gather baseline data and make predictions about how health and equity will change if the policy or practice changes are implemented.
4. Recommendations – identify health- and equity-based recommendations responsive to the predictions made in the HIA.
5. Reporting – create a report and other communications products to disseminate HIA findings in a strategic and inclusive way.
Monitoring – continue engagement of all stakeholders and collect data to ensure recommendations are implemented.
Health Outcomes Addressed Housing stability/homelessness
Social Determinants of Health Addressed Housing
Root Causes of Health Addressed Poverty; ageism; racism

Healthy Aging Resources