Age-Friendly in Focus

Age Friendly in Focus: Understanding access and inclusion for older adults in the built environment.

This project invited older adults 60+ in Nova Scotia to take part in a research study conducted in collaboration between Community Links Nova Scotia and the PEACH Research Unit at Dalhousie University.

In November 2021, engagement sessions took place in communities across Nova Scotia and virtually. These engagement sessions gave community members, aged 60 and older, the opportunity to view and discuss the photographs as well as share their experiences and stories. A graphic recorder captured the conversations, and these powerful visuals are presented in the photobook!

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Research Partner

PEACH Research Unit: The Planning for Equity, Accessibility, and Community Health Research Unit at Dalhousie University’s School of Planning leads and supports projects exploring how planning can better achieve more equitable, accessible, and healthy communities.

The PEACH Research team has worked collaboratively with Community Links over the last two years to engage with older Nova Scotians who have shared valuable insight to better describe the accessible design needs of older adults in the neighborhood-built environment.

With the help of Community Links, the PEACH Research team will be continuing into a new stage of research where they aim to co-create an Age-Friendly Design Guide capturing the “do’s and don’ts” of age-friendly design through photos and other imagery into a guidebook to more effectively communicate design outcomes to stakeholders. To learn more about the PEACH Research Unit’s ongoing age-friendly communities project, visit Age-Friendly Communities (

Feeling inspired to share your photo?

You can participate in the PEACH Research Unit project Candid Access!

Project History

Phase 1 of Age Friendly in Focus originated as an individual research project called Spaces that Work for Me. Conducted by Master of Planning student Katie Vaughan and the PEACH (Planning for Equity, Accessibility, and Community Health) Research Unit, Spaces that Work for Me was a partnership with Community Links. To learn more about this phase of the project, please watch the following videos:

Spaces that Work for Me: Project Overview – YouTube

Spaces that Work for Me: Project Results – YouTube

The Spaces that Work for Me project recruited 12 older adults across Nova Scotia in 2020. Inspired by the results, we knew there was so much more to learn and again in partnership with PEACH and Katie Vaughan, Community Links applied for the Age Friendly Communities Grant from the Department of Seniors to conduct a phase two of the research while also including expanded community outreach and engagement.

After receiving full support for the proposal, Age Friendly in Focus: Understanding access and inclusion for older adults in the built environment was born. 

Age Friendly in Focus aims to engage with more older adults from across the province. We’re using photovoice research, community engagement sessions and graphic recording to publish a photobook that will share the images, stories and what we learn. We want to shine a light on the experiences of older adults moving through day-to-day life.


Age-Friendly World Homepage 

The WHO Age-Friendly Cities Framework 


Canadian Government Age-Friendly Communities Evaluation Guide: Using Indicators to Measure Progress

“The Public Health Agency of Canada has prepared the Age-Friendly Communities Evaluation Guide to provide communities with practical information on how to use indicators to measure progress and evaluate their age-friendly initiatives. Age-friendly communities are those communities that are taking steps to help their older residents remain healthy, active and independent, and to continue to make important contributions as they age. The Guide focuses on one important aspect of developing and maintaining an age-friendly community: the use of indicators in planning, implementing and evaluating age-friendly community initiatives.” 

Age-Friendly Communities in Canada: Community Implementation Guide 

“This Guide has been designed for use by anyone who wants to put their ideas and vision for a more age-friendly community into action. These actions can focus on one or many different sectors in the community—such as health and social services, parks and recreation, policing services and businesses—to incorporate age-friendly approaches into design, policy and services.” 

Canadian Government Age-Friendly Communities in Canada: Community Implementation Guide – Toolbox 

“For your convenience, the Public Health Agency of Canada has put together this Toolbox, which contains many practical tools and resources to help make your community more age-friendly. These tools include great examples from across Canada of work plans, time lines, checklists, potential funders and guidelines to help you implement and assess your progress in developing your age-friendly community.”

Toolkits, guides and webinars to help businesses, organizations, municipalities and public sector bodies comply with the Accessibility Act and make sure everyone can participate.

Funding Opportunities