This study aims to identify relationships between age-friendly environments (in terms of social and physical neighborhood attributes) and older people’s overall well-being, as well as the underlying instrumental goals to achieve overall well-being. A sample of 945 community-dwelling older adults living in Rotterdam’s districts Lombardijen, Lage Land/Prinsenland, Oude Westen, and Vreewijk was asked to complete a questionnaire in 2013. A total of 588 (62%) responded. The majority (56%) of respondents was female, 19% had low educational levels, 35% were married, and 85% were born in the Netherlands. Mean age was 77.1 ± 5.3 (range 70–93) years. Levels of age-friendliness and older people’s ability to realize the instrumental goals to achieve overall well-being varied tremendously among neighborhoods, with older people living in less age-friendly communities reporting lower levels of well-being. These differences in well-being resulted especially from differences in affection, behavioral confirmation, and comfort. Higher-educated older persons were more critical regarding the domains civic participation, transportation, and communication and information in their neighborhoods, suggesting a socioeconomic gradient in the perceived lack of neighborhood attributes facilitating aging in place. Currently, physical and social neighborhood attributes enabling aging in place seem to satisfy the needs for affection, behavioral confirmation, and comfort in some, but not all, neighborhoods. Levels of age-friendliness in neighborhoods did not explain differences in opportunities for older people to realize the instrumental goals of status and stimulation.

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Journal of Happiness Studies
Health Care Governance (HCG)

Nieboer, A., & Cramm, J. (2017). Age-Friendly Communities Matter for Older People’s Well-Being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 1–16. doi:10.1007/s10902-017-9923-5