Communities for All: Equity and Independence

by robin | Jul 16th, 2015 | Leave a comment

We learned from “Franklin for a Lifetime” that an age-friendly community is made of many parts. For one, a livable community facilitates personal independence and engagement in social and civic life. Structure and services make this possible — transportation, buildings and community programs. Ultimately, an age-friendly community does not constrain those who have mobility limitations or chronic conditions nor does it segregate age groups or social classes. Instead it promotes access. Here are some ideas for livability:

  • Affordable & adequate choices for places to live available in a variety of styles and prices for all residents
  • Community services like hair salons, pharmacies, coffee shops or markets
  • Options for getting about like public transit, bicycle lanes or handicap accessible sidewalks

Built environment considerations:

  • Walkable environment  with sidewalks, road buffers or reintroducing front-porch
  • Destinations to walk/patron like parks, open space or community-desired businesses
  • Ways to safely cross the street with designated crosswalks, pedestrian x-ing signs and enough time to cross

Encompassing ways to address those who need assistance without isolation:

  • Services/programs to support aging in place like home doctor visits or drive-thru grocery pick-up
  • Principles of “universal design with one-floor living or ramps instead of stairs

These concepts are easier-said-than-done, but they need not happen at once to benefit residents. Consider these guidelines for community health and well-being as we brace for change.  Imagine your favorite place–How many of these ideas are represented?

Want to know your neighborhood’s walkability rating? try this: Walk Score

To learn what others are saying about “aging in place” look here:

Nat’l Aging in Place Council

Partners for Livable Communities

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