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Toward an age-friendly city: the constraints preventing the elderly's participation in community programs in Akita city

Yoshihiko Kadoya (Junior Associate Professor at Graduate School of Economics, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 9 September 2013




The inclusion of the elderly in community life is a major factor in achieving an age-friendly city. However, there has been little research investigating the constraints preventing the elderly's interaction with society. With that in mind, this paper is pioneering the investigation of such constraints.


This paper used the results from the “Questionnaire towards an Age-Friendly City” by Japan's Akita City, a member of the World Health Organization (WHO)'s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.


This paper reveals two constraining factors. First, living solo discourages elderly to interact with society. Second, the elderly who cannot drive a car tend to be reluctant to participate in social activities.

Practical implications

To be age-friendly that encourages the elderly to participate in community life, municipalities may apply the following “implementations for practice”: implementing regular visits to the elderly who live alone; giving young people some incentives (e.g. tax reductions) to live with their aged parents/relatives; increasing the number of community buses in order to encourage the elderly to go out; and increasing community taxis by deregulating the industry.


This paper contributes significantly to the study of the elderly's inclusion in community life, which is a major component of an age-friendly city. Although little research has analyzed the constraints preventing the elderly's social interaction due to data limitations, this pioneering paper identifies at least some of the constraints. This research can help to improve the health and wellbeing of elderly individuals in our society and it can help to create more age-friendly cities.



This research used micro data from the “Questionnaire towards an Age-Friendly City” by Akita City Government. I acknowledge the survey contributors at the government. I thank Charles Yuji Horioka, Shizuka Sekita, Midori Wakabayashi, Wataru Kureishi, Mari Kan, and the other seminar participants at Osaka University, Japan.


Kadoya, Y. (2013), "Toward an age-friendly city: the constraints preventing the elderly's participation in community programs in Akita city", Working with Older People, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 101-108.



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