Vlada is a MPhil Public Health student at the University of Cambridge, working with Dr Louise Lafortune’s research team. During her BSc Pharmacology degree at University College London, Vlada was interested in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Whilst remaining focused on ageing-based challenges, Vlada broadened this interest during her Public Health degree by exploring the concept of healthy ageing. Vlada’s current research focus is on Age-friendly Communities in England and their alignment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the Decade of Healthy Ageing.
Age-friendly communities in England and the United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021 – 2030)
Vlada Shevelkova, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
The United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030) supports the expansion of Age-friendly Community (AFC) initiatives and provides an opportunity for the communities to embrace the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There is a significant overlap between the AFC agenda, the Decade, and the SDGs. However, there is a lack of knowledge regarding the alignment of the AFC initiatives in England with the areas of action set out by the Decade. Moreover, evidence on whether the AFC initiatives can contribute to the realisation of the SDGs is not yet available. An examination of this link between the AFCs and the SDGs will be crucial to providing the communities with the knowledge on how to expand their current strategies to meet the targets outlined by the Decade.
This paper reports on two components of a mixed-method study investigating the extent to which the efforts of age-friendly initiatives in England contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and areas of action set out by the Decade of Healthy Ageing. The first section will present the results of a thematic analysis of 13 strategy plans from AFC initiatives in England and will elucidate the alignment of existing AFC actions to the SDGs. The second section will present the results of a survey completed by stakeholders involved in commissioning or planning the AFC initiatives in England. The survey aimed to clarify the stakeholders’ knowledge of the Decade and the SDGs, understand the consideration of the Goals in community planning, and elucidate the relative importance of the SDGs to the AFCs. The results of the survey will be compared and contrasted to those of the thematic analysis.
The paper provides an overview of a thesis project completed by an MPhil Public Health student at the University of Cambridge. The overall goal of the thesis was to generate evidence that can inform future AFC strategies and support the progress of AFCs in England towards objectives of the new, aspirational, healthy ageing agenda. Presenting these findings may help stimulate research on the progress of AFCs around the world to help the United Nations member states monitor and evaluate actions to implement ones that are successful.