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Creating Iowa Communities for All Ages

June 27, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa is one of four states where discussions are being held with policymakers, planners and architects, city and county leaders and business leaders to promote the idea of making all communities what is being called "age-friendly."

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, along with Nancy LeaMond, an AARP executive vice president, will be at today's roundtable forum at the Renaissance Savory Hotel in Des Moines.

LeaMond says making a community "age-friendly" doesn't just mean making accommodations for older residents.
"Age-friendly communities are communities that are great places to live, no matter what age you are. That means there's good mobility, there are health and educational resources, parks - all kinds of amenities."

She says time is getting short to make the changes that are needed to make Iowa communities more livable for Baby Boomers in the coming years.

"By 2030, just 18 years from now, when the last of the Baby Boomers turn 65, every state in the country is going to see an increase in the percentage of its population over the age of 65. We know that we need to help communities begin to think about what needs to be done."

With most cities' declining revenues and increasing demands for services, LeaMond says it will take creativity to find and adopt "age-friendly" ideas and designs - but she thinks it can be done. Similar forums are planned later this year for Sacramento, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA