As America Ages, Communities Begin to Adapt
Thursday, November 10, 2016
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- People are living longer, and by 2030 it's projected that one in five Americans will be 65 or older.
One expert on aging, Jean Setzfand, senior vice president for programs at AARP, said infrastructure that allows residents to “age in place” in their neighborhoods is lagging in most communities. That infrastructure includes things like affordable and accessible housing, multiple modes of transportation, and community services.
At a solutions forum in Lexington on Wednesday, Setzfand said more than 80 percent of people 45 and older say they want to remain in the community where they now live.
"They want to be closer to their friends. They want to be close to their family. They want to be close to the community services they're familiar with - doctors, the dry cleaner,” Setzfand said. "It's the environment that they know and are familiar with, and that's where they want to be."
She said communities are built for younger, able-bodied residents, so to create livable age-friendly communities, neighborhoods have to mold a supportive infrastructure together with the social environment.
In Kentucky's second largest city, leaders are working to update the city's comprehensive plan. Lexington's Director of Aging and Disability Services, Kristy Stambaugh, said one proposal is to incentivise builders so when they build a new subdivision, some homes are built for residents to remain there well into their twilight years.
"We need housing that is maybe single-story, that's barrier-free entrances, that the doorways are wider, so that we can get mobility devices through them,” Stambaugh said.
Since AARP made age-friendly communities a focus ten years ago, there has been a groundswell of interest, according to Setzfand.
"Local leaders, in particular, are opening their eyes to the aging demographic,” she said. “People are proactively going out and trying to change their communities to think about the longer lifespan in which people exist in that community."
In 2010, more than 13 percent of Kentucky's population was age 65 or older. It's estimated that by 2030, one in four Kentuckians will be in that demographic. So the time for planning solutions is now.
get more stories like this via email
SALT LAKE CITY -- In the push toward carbon-free energy production, some cities in Utah and nearby states are considering a new type of nuclear …
Health and Wellness
TAMPA, Fla. -- Move United's USA Wheelchair Football League is expanding from four cities to nine, including Tampa, to give athletes with …
CRAIG, Colo. -- What would it look like if one in four households in the country was solar-powered? A new report from the "30 Million Solar Homes" …
Health and Wellness
DES MOINES, Iowa -- People across the Midwest, including Iowans, have dealt with a series of heat waves this summer. Health experts say hotter …
NEW YORK -- Over 10,000 New York and New Jersey front-line airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations that come at…
INDIANAPOLIS -- Voting-rights advocates applaud this week's federal appeals-court decision to prevent Indiana from purging some voters from the rolls …
BOSTON -- A new survey finds widespread public support up and down the East Coast for protecting right whales from getting tangled up in fishing gear…
CARSON CITY, Nev. - A bill just introduced in the U.S, Senate would help thousands of species stay off the Endangered Species List - including …