- by Dana Ehrlich
Whether you are planning to remain in your current city or wanting to make a move, determining how “age-friendly” the area is might be one of the most important steps you take to improve your long-term quality of life.
WHAT IS AN AGE-FRIENDLY CITY/COMMUNITY?
These are residential areas designed to make it easy to walk (or take a short commute) to all the places you need: a grocery store, green spaces, restaurants/shops, entertainment venues, and more. Affordable community transportation is also available for short commutes.
More importantly, an age-friendly community facilitates engagement by all members, encourages social interactions, and provides opportunities for involvement through paid and/or volunteer work, regardless of age or ability. The flexibility of an age-friendly community means it is able to meet a wide range of needs for residents, and adjust as needs change for each community member.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF AN AGE-FRIENDLY COMMUNITY?
Age-friendly communities aim to revere the wisdom, experience, and abilities of older members of the community, engaging them in the workforce, in volunteer positions, and as mentors.
These communities are also designed to encourage walking for health and pleasure, while offering benches and seating areas for rest, meals, and conversation in public places.
Additionally, age-friendly communities utilize technology to make cost-effective independent living available to all members of the community, regardless of ability or age.
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT AGE FRIENDLY AREAS?
Making a community more age-friendly is not a quick or simple process.
Learn more about what’s involved by reviewing:
World Health Organization (WHO) Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program
AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities
The Case for Age-Friendly Communities, prepared for Grantmakers in Aging
HOW AGE FRIENDLY IS MY COMMUNITY (OR A PLACE I’M CONSIDERING AS MY NEXT HOME)?
Enter a location into AARP’s Livability Index (livabilityindex.aarp.org) and learn its score across seven dimensions—housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity.