10 Ways to Make Communities Aging Friendly

As the demand for aging-related care and services continues to grow, communities nationwide are implementing new strategies to support the rapidly growing older adult demographic. 

“Today’s older adults desire and will likely have a different aging experience than that of their parents and grandparents,” writes the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) in a new report. “Trends indicate that fewer of them will move to traditional retirement communities or age-segregated housing; instead, they wish to remain in the homes or in the communities where they have established roots—to ‘age in community.’”

Based on the best practices of communities who are preparing for their aging residents’ needs, n4a offers 10 ways communities can cater to older adults. 

Strategies to help seniors age in community include:

  1. Collaborating across traditional and nontraditional sectors
  2. Celebrating racial and ethnic diversity 
  3. Building individual relationships
  4. Honoring the unique, local community 
  5. Revering older adults
  6. Embracing longevity as an opportunity
  7. Tackling the social factors that determine community wellness
  8. Seizing opportuntiies to infuse age in everything
  9. Sending the right messages
  10. Leveraging local dollars for livability 

Local collaborative efforts include engaging those that are often not considered for discussions around aging, such as the business, faith-based and young adult communities, among others. Also key is involvement from local government in community planning initiatives. 

“Livable communities advocates need to invest time in building individual relationships with stakeholders in key sectors,” n4a says.

Embracing longevity as an opportunity requires a fresh approach to thinking about aging, notes n4a.

“A shift in mindset — from simply recruiting volunteers to mobilizing community leaders — will serve the dual purpose of advancing important community objectives while providing older adults with a sense of purpose,” n4a says.

Read the report here.

Written by Cassandra Dowell