Age Friendly Hamilton

Age-Friendly Plan Header

In 2013, the City of Hamilton partnered with the Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA) and Seniors Advisory Committee of Council (SAC) to begin the development of Hamilton’s Plan for an Age-Friendly City. Since the number of older adults and seniors in Hamilton is expected to double over the next two decades, the Plan helps to identify and address the needs and priorities of this growing part of our population.

Since 2014, the City, HCoA and SAC have worked with many community partners to make Hamilton an age-friendly city. This work includes building on projects that are already happening in the community, such as barrier-free spaces, housing opportunities, safer neighbourhoods, and available communication.

Age-friendly goals

The Plan is organized around seven goals and commits to a series of actions to achieve these goals. The City and Hamilton Council on Aging will continue to work together to achieve all of the actions identified in the Plan by 2019.

Header for Goal #1 - Housing

Goal: Everyone should have a place to live. People are supported in ways that make sense for their unique circumstances with a full range of housing options in their neighbourhood.

  • Older adults can easily access the information they need with respect to various housing options and have tools available to help them plan for their aging.
  • Older adults' housing affordability, stability and choice is increased and maintained over time.
  • People receive respectful, quality services within a 'user-friendly' system and experience equity and inclusion when accessing social housing.
  • Ensure older adults have the individualized supports they need to help them obtain and maintain housing.
  • "Housing Options for Older Adults in Hamilton" was developed and distributed widely. To access the guide, visit Resources for Seniors and Older Adults.
  • Hamilton has implemented four Housing First programs, which are designed to provide immediate access to permanent affordable housing for individuals who are facing chronic homelessness.
  • The Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA) received a grant to increase social participation for seniors living in private market rental buildings.

Header for Goal #2 - Getting Around in Greater Hamilton

Goal: The City's transportation systems, urban design and physical infrastructure enable people to participate in community life as they choose, as well as age in their community.

  • Ensure the ideas and concerns expressed in this plan inform the Master Transportation Plan.
  • Investigate the design, feasibility and funding opportunities for developing a shared ride model that provides the "right" amount of door-to-door convenience mixed with the cost effectiveness of shared ride.
  • Building on existing services and capacity, identify opportunities to expand usage of community bus shuttles or volunteer drives as a way of getting people directly to where they want to go.
  • Improve the ease of using public transit.
  • Improve the Disabled and Aged Regional Transportation System (DARTS)
  • With new developments and where possible with redevelopment, implement a complete communities policy.
  • The City’s Recreation Division, DARTS, Ancaster, Glanbrook and Flamborough Information Services received a two-year grant to provide free transportation for seniors residing in rural areas; this assists seniors in getting to recreational activities and grocery shopping.
  • Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) and the Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA) hosted “Let’s Take the Bus” workshops to assist older adults who take the bus, and created an informational brochure in 7 languages - English, French, Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese and Portuguese.
  • The City’s Recreation Division piloted a cycling workshop geared to older adults, which included safety measures, rules of the road and testing of ability so that older adults can safely ride bicycles. The City will offer future cycling workshops.
  • “Let’s Take a Walk: A guide to Age-Friendly trails in Hamilton” is a guide of 18 of Hamilton’s outdoor recreational trails. To access the guide, visit Resources for Seniors and Older Adults.

Header for Goal #3 - Communication & information

Goal: Older adults have access to information and systems that are better connected, and are able to influence and design the type of information systems they need; customer service and wayfinding are intentional and responsive to individual needs and capacities.

  • Increase awareness of local trusted sources of information (i.e. 905-546-CITY,, 211).
  • Improve communication between the City of Hamilton and other residents.
  • Increase digital literacy of older adults.
  • Increase access to assistive devices and translation services for the non-profit sector.
  • Improve access to plainly written information on what is available to older adults.
  • With consultation from the Seniors Advisory Committee (SAC), City staff launched a seniors landing page, which can be accessed at provide a central source of information/links. 
  • The Dundas InfoSpot55+ pilot program was a partnership of the Dundas Active 55+ Steering committee, the Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA), Information Hamilton, the Hamilton Public Library and the City’s Recreation Division (Seniors Services). This program developed a web-based application for seniors to access information about programs and services. To access, visit
  • Opportunities for older adults to learn how to use information technology devices is continuously evolving:
    • The City, through Sackville Hill Seniors Centre partnered with Staples to offer iPad classes to its membership.
    • The Hamilton Public Library has a wide variety of free workshops and courses which are offered in many of its branches.
    • The YWCA has expanded their course offerings to include laptop and tablet lessons.
    • The Geriatric Education and Research in Aging Sciences (GERAS) Centre designed a six week program to teach older adults how to use iPads.
  • New and innovative ways for older adults to access information and increase digital literacy:
    • Hamilton Council on Aging (HcoA) Peer Connector volunteers use a web-based application on iPads to retrieve information about services for other seniors.
    • McMaster University’s Tapestry Program volunteers work with seniors in their homes using an application on iPads to access information about community services to increase wellness and reduce social isolation.

Header for Goal #4 - Health & Community Services

Goal: Older adults have access to a wide range of supports and services that allow them to remain in their homes and attend to their health and personal needs. Aging in community is eased by good urban design, appropriate housing, and the support of family and community.

  • Improve access to supports that reduce risk and assist older adults to be able to remain safely in their homes longer.
  • Ensure that older adults have easy, seamless and equitable access to services that cross the continuum of care.
  • A new Food Access Guide which includes many community services for seniors, i.e. shopping/transportation services, meals on wheels programs, free meals and congregate/group dining. To access the guide, visit Resources for Seniors and Older Adults.
  • The Hamilton Seniors Isolation Population Impact Plan received funding from the New Horizons for Seniors Program for a three year period to tackle social isolation amongst seniors. There are seven local organizations leading seven projects.
  • Many local organizations are collaborating to reduce the risk of social isolation and assist older adults to remain in their homes. A few examples include:
    • The Community Health Assessment Program through Emergency Medical Services (CHAP-EMS) is a drop-in community-based health promotion program in subsidized seniors’ apartment buildings. 
    • The Neighbourhood Model for Seniors at Risk is a collaborative project involving City Housing Hamilton, Catholic Family Services, and St. Joseph's Home Care.
    • Committee Against the Abuse of Older Adults with support from Elder Abuse Ontario involves local organizations in raising awareness and educating about elder abuse.
    • Catholic Family Services Intensive Case Management for seniors partners with many health and social service agencies to assist the most vulnerable, isolated seniors in our community.

Header for Goal #5 - Social Participation

Goal: Social engagement opportunities are welcoming and reflect the diverse interests and preferences of older adults in the community, and are available in a variety of formats.

  • Ensure there are recreation, leisure and cultural activities for older adults throughout greater Hamilton in a variety of venues that are easily accessible and meet their diverse needs and interests.
  • Centres that serve older adults should be designed to meet the needs of a variety of clients and help diverse groups to age in successful and productive ways.
  • In May 2016, the City’s Recreation Division received a grant for the next two years. The goal is to increase access for seniors who experience barriers in getting to existing seniors centres which will provide opportunities for an estimated 2,900 seniors.
  • The City’s Recreation Division, produced twice per year, launched the first 55+ Program Guide in the fall and Winter 2015/2016.
  • The City’s Recreation Division (Seniors Services) is hosting open houses twice a year.

Header for Goal #6 - Civic engagement, volunteerism & employment

Goal: Hamilton's vibrant civic life includes meaningful roles for older people as leaders, influencers, employers and volunteers.

  • Ensure there is a range of meaningful volunteer opportunities that use the gifts and talents of older adults in service to others or the community at large.
  • Older adults are valued as employees.
  • The Hamilton Council on Aging’s (HCoA) Older Adult Peer Connector Program received a grant for a two-year period. The purpose of this program is to train older adult volunteers to provide information and referrals about community resources, support programs and services to seniors. Currently, there are 33 peer connector volunteers trained and placed in 10 locations throughout greater Hamilton, including Sackville Hill Seniors Recreation Centre, Neighbour2Neighbour Centre, and in several public libraries.
  • The Recreation Division launched a campaign to promote recreation and volunteerism. The advertising slogan was “Get Active, Stay Connected and Give Back”.

Header for Goal #7 - Age-Friendly Public Service

Goal: Leader in all City of Hamilton departments will champion age-friendly strategies in their scope of authority and practice, and in partnership with the community.

  • Ensure that the development of all planning and programming of policy frameworks and City services uses an equity and inclusion lens, i.e. the unique characteristics and needs of different populations including older adults are taken into account,
  • Ensure that policies, programs and services for older adults in Hamilton are aligned with promisin and emerging practices.
  • Increase the ease of inter-departmental collaboration and coordination in planning for, and serving, older adults.
  • Enaged the communiuty and other stakeholders in the implementation of this Plan.
  • In March 2015, Hamilton was officially accepted as a member of the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. This membership is renewable every two years when communities demonstrate that they are working towards becoming more age-friendly.
  • The City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA) and Seniors Advisory Committee (SAC) has developed an Implementation Plan for the period of 2016 to 2019.
  • The City of Hamilton, Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA), McMaster University, and Hamilton Planning and Social Research Council (SPRC) received funding to create an evaluation framework. The purpose is to create a monitoring tool for tracking progress, to create a community profile, and to share with other communities in order for them to evaluate their own age-friendly plans.
  •  A communication strategy to raise awareness and engage internal and external stakeholders has been developed. The purpose of the strategy is to identify key messaging, as well as strategies/tactics to best communicate to all stakeholders.

Read the full version of Age Friendly Hamilton (PDF, 3.9 MB).

Contact us

For more information, contact:

Lisa Maychak
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext.1721

The Plan aligns and builds on good work that is already underway, and links to other key City initiatives, including:

Who was involved in developing the Plan

The plan was informed by:

  • a project steering committee comprise of staff and key community stakeholders
  • Hamilton's Senior Advisory Committee
  • Hamilton Council on Aging and it's Age-Friendly Hamilton Committee
  • the World Health Organizations' Age-Friendly Cities initiative
  • a review of relevant literature and other municipals plans
  • a demographic analysis of Hamilton's older population
  • an internal look at existing city programs and services for older adults and seniors
  • consultation with over 550 older adults,100 community stakeholders and 48 city staff 
  • City Manager and Senior Management Team