THE Eight Domains of Livability

Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2007, the framework of age-friendly communities is built around 8 domains of livability, eight areas that are critical to older resident's health and well-being.  

The 8 Domains of Livability provide an inclusive framework used by Lifelong Communities to organize and prioritize their work. Although the availability and quality of these community features impact the health and well-being of older adults, they also allow younger people to thrive and encourage residents of all ages to be engaged in community life.

These domains interconnect and overlap with one another.  For example, having benches available in public areas fosters social opportunities, and encourages intergenerational engagement that benefits everyone. 

While a few communities develop a plan to make changes in all eight domains; we encourage age-friendly teams to choose a fewer that will have the greatest impact as they start their work.

Below, learn about the eight domains and hear from Maine communities about the work they are doing. 

Note: Throughout our site, underlined text indicates a live link.

Outdoor Spaces and Public Buildings

Accessible Businesses are a focus of
Age- and Ability-Friendly Bucksport

Anne Krieg, Bangor Livable Communities

The external environment has a major impact on the mobility, independence and quality of life of people as they go about their daily lives. Well-maintained recreational areas, ample spots to rest, well-developed and safe pedestrian and building infrastructure, easy access to public spaces, and a secure environment all help provide an ideal community for all people. 

Maine Voices

Anne Krieg - Director of Economic and Community Development, City of Bangor & Co-Chair Bangor Livable Communities - presents information about several initiatives Bangor Livable Communities has done to start a conversation with residents about making Bangor Town Hall and public spaces in the city more accessible, convenient, and welcoming. 

Additional Resources


Accessible and affordable options are key to ensuring that all residents are able to be active and remain engaged. Heavy traffic, poor road conditions, insufficient  lighting, poorly positioned signage, and inadequate parking facilities are areas of concern that many lifelong communities work to improve.

Maine Voices

Jean Saunders - Chair, Age-Friendly Saco - describes Age-Friendly Saco's evolving work to address the needs of residents to rides for medical appointments, errands, and social opportunities. 

Additional Resources

Jean Saunders, Age-Friendly Saco

Communication and Information

Elizabeth Singer, Age-Friendly Caribou

A strong community will ensure that information on policies, events, and issues reach all residents in a timely, effective, and accessible manner.  It's critical to remember that no all residents will be familiar with or have access to high-speed communications networks, and those individuals with visual or hearing challenges many have special needs for accessing information, as well.

Maine Voices

Elizabeth Singer - Community Relations Coordinator, Cary Medical Center & Chair Age-Friendly Caribou - describes the approach she has adopted to promote the work that her committee is doing

Additional Resource

Civic Engagement and Employment

Lifelong communities provide residents of all ages with ample opportunities for volunteer or paid employment, entrepreneurial opportunities, and political engagement.

Maine Voices

Dot Grady - Co-Chair, Age-Friendly Chelsea - explains how their programs to increase civic engagement have evolved in response to the preferences of residents. 

Additional Resources:

Developing a Community Learning Garden
Age-Friendly Millinocket

Dot Grady, Age-Friendly Chelsea

Respect and Social Inclusion

All Ages Come Together
Age-Friendly Communities of the Lower Kennebec

Nancy Davis - AFCI, Bethel 

Negative perceptions of aging still exist, even in the most forward-thinking communities.  Lifelong communities have critical roles to play in raising awareness of aging and associated issues, involving older residents in decisions that affect them, and facilitating intergenerational engagement.  They strive to recognize and eliminate ageist attitudes and policies that have a negative effect on residents.

Maine Voices

Nancy Davis - Chair, Age-Friendly Community Initiative, Bethel Area - gives a brief history of AFCI's approach work to bring the generations together for fun, learning, and sharing. She suggests several things to think about when developing intergenerational programs.

Community Supports and Health Services

Accessible and affordable health services are crucial in keeping all residents healthy, independent, and active.  In addition to encouraging the delivery of a range of services, from preventive care to residential care to end-of-life support, lifelong communities can develop outreach programs designed to promote healthy lifestyles.

Maine Voices

Lori Johnson - Healthy Aging Coordinator, Healthy Peninsula & Coordinator, Age-Friendly Coastal Communities - takes us on a quick tour of the many different initiatives implemented to increase access to community supports and health services that promote active, healthy, engaged aging. 

Additional Resource:

Community Blood Pressure Checks
Age-Friendly Bowdoinham

Lori, Johnson, Age-Friendly Coastal Communities

Social Participation

Partnering with libraries to encourage socialization
Aging Well in Waldo County

Liz Breault, Age-Friendly Dexter

Participating in intergenerational leisure, social, cultural, and faith-based activities in the community helps residents stay engaged and informed.  Lifelong communities have a role to play in planning events, ensuring accessible facilities and transportation, and creating awareness of opportunities for social participation.

Maine Voices:

Liz Breault - Director, Abbot Memorial Library and Chair Dexter Age-Friendly - described a number of accomplishments and then provided details about one of the programs started to address isolation - Furever Friends. The program matches older cats with older people. Click here to view a video about the program. Liz emphasized the important role of the municipality and the number of partnerships they were able to develop as people became excited about the age-friendly program.  

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Quality housing and quality of life are often linked.  The ability to establish roots - affordably, independently, and safely - is often a significant goal for individuals, couples, and families alike.  In addition to advocating for better housing policy and options, lifelong communities can also help with home modification programs, volunteer handy-helper services, and assistance with connecting residents to programs that help with energy and other costs. 

Maine Voices

Vanessa Newman - Director, Bucksport Bay Healthy Communities Coalition & Chair, Age and Ability-Friendly Bucksport - shared a partnership with Habitat for Humanity that is increasing access to home repairs and modification. 

Additional Resources:

Age-Friendly Saco partners with Window Dressers and the Thornton Academy Interact Club to provide older residents with window inserts to keep homes warmer in the winter.

Vanessa Newman, Age and Ability Friendly Bucksport