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SD Communities Strive to Be More Livable, Age-Friendly

The review website Senior List ranks South Dakota in third place, behind Iowa and Nebraska, among the safest states for older people. (Pixabay/cnort)
The review website Senior List ranks South Dakota in third place, behind Iowa and Nebraska, among the safest states for older people. (Pixabay/cnort)
March 11, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Large or small, urban or rural, any community can strive to be more livable – and for the third year, AARP South Dakota is offering grants to help them achieve those goals.

The grants are given for quick action projects through AARP's Community Challenge Grant initiative. They can be related to housing, transportation, smart cities and public space.

Lindsey Holmquest, director of community outreach with AARP South Dakota, says the three projects funded in the state last year were all about building momentum.

"The projects in Rapid City, Vermillion and Sioux Falls have improved accessibility of parks and bike trails, they built community pride and connectedness,” she points out. “So, really, it's all up to the community. They come up with ideas based on what would help their community be more livable."

Holmquest says rural areas are especially encouraged to apply for quick action grants, because they often have a high number of older residents who'd benefit from accessibility improvements that would otherwise be cost prohibitive.

Quick action means the project can be completed within the year. Communities can see the rules and apply online at aarp.org/livable.

Making a place more livable often means making it more age friendly.

Sioux Falls recently received that designation from AARP, becoming the first city in South Dakota to join a network of 300 other communities and three states.

Holmquest says residents of an age-friendly community can live a full life, and what's good for an eight-year-old, is typically also good for an 80-year-old.

"We know that most folks want to stay in their community and in their home throughout their entire life,” Holmquest states. “And an age-friendly community makes it possible for people to do that – everything from transportation and housing to social participation, communication information, services. It's just a great place where folks have everything they need."

In a recent study from The Senior List, an independent review website, South Dakota ranked third among the states as safest for seniors.

The study scored each state for fraud, housing costs, people 65 and older living in poverty, rates of violent injury and deaths, and seniors living alone in respect to the state's total population.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD