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AARP Study Ask Seniors "What Is Livable?"

PHOTO: A new AARP survey examines what services older Americans want most in their communities. Photo courtesy Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
PHOTO: A new AARP survey examines what services older Americans want most in their communities. Photo courtesy Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
May 2, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY – Older Utahns may be interested in a new AARP study that examines what services people age 50 and older want most in their communities to help make life a little bit easier.

Laura Polacheck, communications director at AARP Utah, says the report, “What Is Livable? Community Preferences of Older Adults” from the organization's Public Policy Institute, found that public transportation is very important.

"Well, the very top service they wanted was a bus stop,” she says. “And I think that's because a lot of people might be limiting their driving, so they wanted to make sure they had access to a relatively inexpensive transportation source. And then not surprisingly, they also wanted to be close to a grocery store."

Polacheck says parks, pharmacies, hospitals and churches were also high on the list of what older adults want close to home.

She adds that the survey shows about nine out of 10 Americans over the age of 65 want to remain in their current homes.

Polacheck says AARP is developing a Livability Index that can help community planners add the amenities critical for our aging population.

"The Livability Index is to measure whether our country's neighborhoods are meeting the needs and desires of older citizens,” she explains. “And so, once people understand and realize what these needs are, they can better plan communities, because we are aging rapidly."

Polacheck cites a U.S. Census Bureau projection that by 2050, America's senior population will more than double from its current level of around 40 million.

The AARP survey involved 4,500 people from a variety of income levels, ethnic groups and types of communities.


Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT