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Review

Environmental and Psychosocial Interventions in Age-Friendly Communities and Active Ageing: A Systematic Review

1
Department of Geography, National Distance Education University (UNED), 28040 Madrid, Spain
2
Research Group on Ageing (GIE-CSIC), Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography (IEGD), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), 28037 Madrid, Spain
3
Ageing Network of the Latin American Population Association (ALAP), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228305
Received: 12 October 2020 / Revised: 5 November 2020 / Accepted: 6 November 2020 / Published: 10 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Active/Healthy Ageing and Quality of Life)
Background: The academic literature contains little information regarding the interventions that create age-friendly cities and communities in order to promote active ageing. Objectives: A systematic review was carried out to determine the available empirical evidence in relation to the characteristics, content and effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving environmental and psychosocial risk factors for older people, from the perspective of age-friendly communities and the promotion of active ageing. Methods: Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, the studies retained in this review were identified through a systematic search of the academic literature in selected electronic databases including Web of Science and Scopus. Independent critical appraisal and data extraction were conducted by two reviewers. The checklist was used to assess the quality of the articles. Findings: The search identified 1020 potentially eligible documents, of which 11 satisfied the established criteria. Non-exhaustive practices prevailed over rigorous investigations, with a high proportion of studies observed to be of low methodological quality and at high risk of bias. This reflected the predominance of uncontrolled interventions. Environmental interventions were focused on reducing risk and adapting the everyday environmental setting, while psychosocial interventions prioritised social strategies (behavioural changes, promotion of participation) and training. Interventions were more effective in certain domains of age-friendly cities and communities such as transportation and housing, followed by increased participation as a lifestyle-related behavioural change. The inferred changes were associated with providing information and enhancing skills; modifying access, barriers, exposures, and opportunities; enhancing services and support; continuity and effectiveness of changes over time; and modifying policies based on the bottom-up approach of age-friendly cities and communities (AFCC). Discussion and conclusion: Interventions focused on personal and organisational aspects might have positive effects in the longer term. However, fewer changes would be observed in interventions revolving around changing lifestyles owing to the impact of complex multi-causal factors. The relative effectiveness in terms of health calls into question the design of interventions and the supposed “friendliness” of certain communities. There is a need to encourage sound longitudinal research aimed at providing key knowledge for the implementation and evaluation of public policies, and to encourage age-friendly community programmes to promote active ageing. View Full-Text
Keywords: age-friendly cities and communities; active ageing; intervention; systematic review; PRISMA guidelines; quality of life; environmental gerontology age-friendly cities and communities; active ageing; intervention; systematic review; PRISMA guidelines; quality of life; environmental gerontology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sánchez-González, D.; Rojo-Pérez, F.; Rodríguez-Rodríguez, V.; Fernández-Mayoralas, G. Environmental and Psychosocial Interventions in Age-Friendly Communities and Active Ageing: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 8305. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228305

AMA Style

Sánchez-González D, Rojo-Pérez F, Rodríguez-Rodríguez V, Fernández-Mayoralas G. Environmental and Psychosocial Interventions in Age-Friendly Communities and Active Ageing: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(22):8305. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228305

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sánchez-González, Diego, Fermina Rojo-Pérez, Vicente Rodríguez-Rodríguez, and Gloria Fernández-Mayoralas. 2020. "Environmental and Psychosocial Interventions in Age-Friendly Communities and Active Ageing: A Systematic Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 22: 8305. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228305

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