Towards age-friendly municipalities: What are municipalities doing to support their ageing population with mental health problems?

M.C.P. Schichel, M.Y. Veenstra, G.I.J.M. Kempen, M.E. de Vugt, F.R.J. Verhey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Municipalities in Western Europe have increasingly gained a responsibility to support their populations' healthy ageing, but are they ready to do so? In this case study, we are looking into the awareness, attitudes, capacities and mandates of 33 neighboring Belgian, Dutch, and German municipalities to support ageing people, and especially people with dementia, people with late-life depression and informal caregivers. As part of the Senior Friendly Communities Interreg project, we conducted semi-structured interviews with municipal policymakers and relevant stakeholders from May 2017 to January 2018. The results show that dementia was a more salient theme in municipality policies than depression; that informal caregivers were considered important but difficult for municipalities to identify; that there was a difference between how embedded these health themes were in policies versus in practice; and lastly, that conducting this assessment turned out to act as an intervention itself. We discuss the similarities and differences between the regions, and the context that needs to be taken into account for municipalities when becoming more age-friendly. These results do not only provide an insight into the status quo of the participating municipalities with regard to becoming more age-friendly but can provide a starting point for further development of policies in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-72
Number of pages20
JournalWorld Medical & Health Policy
Issue number1
Early online date2 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • age-friendly policies
  • dementia
  • health policy
  • informal care
  • late-life depression
  • CARE

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