Healthy Aging

The Healthy Aging Fund 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 the six social determinants of health, and

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

In this first year of funding, housing and transportation are priorities. Ideas that address housing or transportation will get 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 PSE change approach that the Healthy Aging Fund would potentially fund. Learn more about PSE change approaches from the DPH program, Mass in Motion.

Example Addressing Transportation Challenges Among Older Adults
Initiative Focus Engaging community residents to work together with policymakers to consider older adults’ needs in policies to improve access to public transportation.  
Lead Partner A non-profit organization
The Issue A lack of affordable public transportation options can have a negative impact on the health of older adults. Increasing options for public transportation can improve mental health and reduce chronic disease among older adults. This is especially true in communities with racial and income inequities.  
The Solution The lead partner brings different partners together to create a coalition. Partners include older adult community residents, a youth development organization, and regional transit authorities. They will:
(1) Bring together youth and older adults (an “intergenerational model”) to train and support them in advocacy and storytelling. By sharing their stories and experiences with decision-makers, they will help to change policies.
(2) Work with older adults and youth to identify needed changes, and implement long-term changes across the community to increase access to transportation for older adults.
Health Outcomes Addressed Chronic disease and mental health
Social Determinants of Health Addressed Built environment and social environment
Root Causes of Health Addressed Poverty; racism; structural and institutional barriers