Centre of Expertise Health Innovation

Knowledge platform Age-Friendly City The Hague

In addition to the Municipality of The Hague, interest groups, knowledge institutions and social partners from The Hague region participate in the Knowledge Platform Age-Friendly City The Hague. The Knowledge Platform advises on the set-up of the integral age-friendliness monitor and supports the recruitment of respondents. In addition, partners contribute relevant research and other information to the Knowledge Platform, so that knowledge in the field of The Hague age-friendly city is further shared and enriched. The municipal Action Programme Age-Friendly The Hague 2020-2022 has three themes: Participation and pleasure in life, Healthy and resilient, and Living comfortably in your neighbourhood.

Together with Hulsebosch Advies and AFEdemy, the Urban Ageing research group conducted a study on the satisfaction with their city among older citizens in The Hague. The results were presented in January 2021. More than 76,000 people over the age of 65 live in The Hague and their proportion within the urban population is growing. At the end of 2014, The Hague became the first Dutch city to join the global network of 'age-friendly cities' of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Research in 2020: World premiere

To measure satisfaction among The Hague's older adults, the Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Questionnaire (AFCCQ) was developed and tested. This was a world first, as an integrated quantitative measuring instrument did not yet exist anywhere in the world. In addition to filling in the questionnaire, older people were also able to participate in city workshops organised in all parts of the city. The results of the monitor based on this questionnaire were presented to The Hague alderman Kavita Parbhudayal and Leonard Geluk, general director of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities, on 29 January 2021.

Satisfied

Older people give the city of The Hague a good rating for age-friendliness. They are very satisfied with their own home. The public space and buildings in The Hague score lower. People with a walker or wheelchair, poorer health and with a lower income are somewhat less satisfied with The Hague as an age-friendly city.

Findings

The questionnaire addresses a number of domains that affect the daily lives of older people.

Housing

Just like the rest of the population of The Hague, older people in The Hague mainly live in a flat or apartment. They give their own living space a good rating. Most older people do not want to move because they see many barriers in doing so. Yet almost a third of older people in The Hague are thinking of moving because they want to live future-proof. Therefore, the advice to the municipality is to encourage the construction of more suitable housing and to appoint housing coaches to help with moving.

Social participation

Older adults in The Hague positively appreciate the available meeting facilities and are often willing to help others. Nevertheless, more than half of those questioned feel lonely. They are extra worried because of the coronavirus. The advice to the municipality is to create more low-threshold meeting places and to broaden the possibilities for a meaningful life.

Respect and social inclusion

A majority of older people in The Hague feel at home in their neighbourhood and feel respected. They also see that their neighbourhood is changing. The threshold for getting to know neighbours from a different cultural background is high. Things such as living conditions, peaceful coexistence and compliance with rules are things that older adults see deteriorating. The advice to the municipality is to increase the possibilities for young and old to meet each other, to combat (age) discrimination and to work on improving the image of older people.

Citizenship and employment

Older adults in The Hague often help their neighbours and look for a meaningful way to spend their time. However, being sufficiently involved with what is happening in the neighbourhood and the possibilities of having a job that matches one's skills and interests require improvement. The advice to the municipality is to involve as many older people as possible in the planning process and not just the groups already known.

Communication and information

Municipal information and its readability score satisfactory. Older adults are less satisfied with the way the municipality listens to them. Being able to find certain information is also sometimes a problem, and older people find it difficult to keep up with rapid digital developments. The advice to the municipality is to continue to provide information digitally and on paper, to have digital training given and to make it easy to find older citizens' counsellors.

Social and health services

The rating of social and health services in general is good. The rating of household care, support for informal care and care and help in case of illness or disability is lower. The advice to the municipality is to improve the support for the sick and to make help more readily available at the GP, home care or library.

Outdoor areas and buildings

Older people in The Hague are the least satisfied with the outdoor spaces and buildings in the city. In particular, the availability of public toilets, accessibility of the neighbourhood and shops, benches and safe pedestrian crossings scored an unsatisfactory rating. The advice to the municipality is to focus on good maintenance, sufficient benches and a visible neighbourhood policeman.

Transport

Public transport in The Hague is rated positively. Older adults are satisfied with the accessibility and elevated platforms. However, there is a need for fewer transfers to get from A to B and more parking spaces (especially for the disabled), especially in the city centre. The advice to the municipality is to pay attention to this.

Finances

The majority of older people in The Hague can make ends meet. They do worry about their finances, such as pension levels and rising costs. However, some 14% of those surveyed are short of money. They do not know where to get information or help for this, now that banks are closing their branches and everything is becoming digital. The advice to the municipality is to make more places available for financial advice and to provide better support for people with lower incomes.

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Partners

THUAS collaborates in this project with Hulsebosch Advies and AFEdemy. Various social partners will take part in the Platform Age-Friendly City The Hague (Dutch). All these partners are committed to The Hague as an age-friendly city and provide input for the research.

The Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Questionnaire launched in The Hague

At the beginning of 2020, the Municipality of The Hague commissioned a consortium consisting of The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Hulsebosch Advies and AFEdemy to develop a questionnaire and thus conduct a representative study on the perceived age-friendliness for older people in the city.

The Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Questionnaire measures older people's perceptions of the eight domains of the World Health Organisation, plus a relevant ninth domain of a person's financial situation. The questionnaire can be freely used by any public organisation, municipality, researchers or anyone interested in age-friendliness.

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Research in 2021: Security

The Action Programme Age-Friendly The Hague 2020-2022 was launched in the fourth quarter of 2020 and provides specific actions in the field of an age-friendly society in the municipality. The Action Programme has three thematic areas: Participation and Pleasure in Life, Healthy and Resilient, and Living Well in Your Neighbourhood. One of the themes that recurs in this Action Programme is the feeling of security in its various manifestations. For example, under the heading Participation and Pleasure in Life, the Action Programme aims to prevent and combat loneliness and exclusion of older- citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation or identity. Awareness and attention can make a big difference in increasing the feeling of safety for all older adults. Under the heading Healthy and Resilient, attention is paid to the fact that ageing is associated with an increase in certain risks, such as the risk of falling, dehydration in extremely hot weather, overburdening of carersand financial exploitation. Older people will receive information on what they can do themselves (resilience) or where they can go if they notice unsafe issues. Special attention is also paid to financial exploitation and other forms of abuse of older adults. The theme of 'Living comfortably in your neighbourhood' focuses on having a good home base as a prerequisite for feeling safe and well and experiencing pleasure in life.

In 2021, research was done into how older people in The Hague experience safety in their city. Based on this, a classification of safety perception was made. We looked into what older people consider important when it comes to their safety, and what older people themselves and together can do to increase their sense of safety in the city