Aging in Place, Age-Friendly Cities and Livable Communities?

Age Friendly Living

As our nation become more and more involved and aware of the Baby Boomer's needs, many more terms will appear in our daily conversations. Here I will explain the three primary terms as of now.

According to the CDC, Aging in Place means "the ability to live in one's home and community safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, income, or ability level." Does it only apply to our homes? The answer to that would be no. It applies in everything we do. But since there's no place like home, many experts focus on the home modifications that enhance one's direct living environment.

The Difference between Age-Friendly Cities and Livable Communities

Livable communities

Back in 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) created an international policy framework that promotes active aging. The purpose of this framework is to support governments in developing health policies to get ready for the increasing population of the 60+ and older individuals worldwide. This policy affirms the goal of "optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security to enhance the quality of life as people age."

When the policy became a reality, the WHO then added the Global Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program. The Global Program allowed other organizations such as the AARP from the United States, the AFM from United Kingdom, the Sai Kung District from Hong Kong, etc. to join and make cities more age-friendly. In other words, these organizations all came together to help renovate and build cities in a way that works for every person no matter the age!

For example, having more even ground throughout the city and ramps when transitioning from the sidewalk to the street to make walking easier or having more benches and seating for relaxation. All of these simple things make an Age-Friendly City without adding substantial costs.

Efforts on Age-Friendly Cities

As for Livable Communities, that is the AARP's attempt to take action towards making age-friendly cities a reality in the United States. They have recently created a Livability Index, where you can find out how livable (a.k.a age-friendly), your address is. If you're interested as to how the index calculates and what makes an area more "livable" or "age-friendly," it's here. The index creates the hopes that people and policymakers will compare and "decide whether their communities are places where people can easily live as they get older."

It allows for comparison, particularly helpful if you are deciding to move in the future.

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