Planning for an aging America: New report shows how to allow older citizens to "age in place"

Much has been made over the last few months about America reaching the 300 mark in population, heading towards 400 million in another 40 years or so. What’s often lost between the lines is how much older that population will be. By only 2030, nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be over age 65. As the Aging in Place Initiative tells us, the largest majority of seniors are not retiring to the beach or moving into a nursing home – they choose to remain where they are and “age in place”. But as many seniors choose to stay where they are, they are realizing that many of our communities aren’t made for such a lifestyle, and find their options to be extremely limited.

Columnist Neal Peirce wrote this week about a report released last month by Partners for Livable Communities about how our planning process needs to accommodate the needs of these seniors who will “age in place,” without relying on the disingenuous notion that everyone will be able to drive everywhere: “…Communities now need to look to an 180-degree turn — new land use plans and zoning codes that actually encourage residences within easy walking and biking distance of such basic amenities as food markets, drug stores, cafes, banks and parks. So that seniors then can have a normal life, even without a car for every errand.” Not only does a large percentage of Americans want to drive less, but 1 in 5 Americans over 65 don’t or can’t drive at all.

Download the “Blueprint for Action” from the Aging in Place Initiative, learn more from SGA about aging in place, and download a classic report, the Aging in Place Toolkit for Local Governments by Scott Ball, the Atlanta Regional Commission, and the Community Housing Resource Center.