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Future Communities Will Require a Smarter Approach to Age-Friendliness

Future Communities Will Require a Smarter Approach to Age-FriendlinessSmarter Approach to Age Friendliness

8 July 2015

Aged Care Reviews

Efforts to create a better quality of life for senior citizens should be a big concern for communities in the future, according to the most recent issue of Public Policy & Aging Report (PP&AR). The report is titled “Making a Home in the City: The Age-Friendly Community Movement.” It contains seven articles in total, making an argument for modern cities to develop in line with the needs of all generations. This should be a main goal for those deciding on future social and economic policy.

The population is gradually growing older. It's clear to anyone who cares to look at the statistics of modern societies. However, more effort must be made to ensure that the elderly are catered for, when government bodies and organizations are deciding how to grow cities. A current trend, which has been going on for some time now, is to expect older citizens to move somewhere out of the way.

A world that's age-friendly would be one where people of every age group can live happily together. That includes being able to have the facilities they need, such as medical and social centers. It would also make it easier for people to remain close to their friends and families, while having everything they need for overall health and happiness. It's far too easy to assume that seniors are happy to just “get by” and go along with whatever they're given. This is a harmful and ill-fitting way of thinking, considering the rate that cities and communities are expanding.

The growth of cities needs to be closely connected to the needs of the older population. Robert Hudson, PhD, who was editor of the report, believes that there has been too much separation between how cities are developing, and what is required for the elderly to live comfortable lives, with their needs completely met. He states that "Modern economic growth results largely from private sector investments and incentives which pay little heed to the concerns of vulnerable populations."

A community that is designed with the best interests of citizens of all ages, should be one that allows people to “age-in-place”. This means that they can continue to live in their own homes independently, in a safe and comfortable way, no matter what their income or mental and physical capabilities. In order to make this possible, nearby areas need to have enough health care, including nursing services and specialists. They also need to have the necessary public services, such as community groups that support the elderly, suitable public transportation, and other facilities.

This latest issue of the PP&AR has allowed several prominent analysts, as well as activists, to share their views on the subject. They each work to promote the idea that aged citizens should be considered when communities are being further developed, to ensure their wellbeing. This all ties in with the age-friendly community movement. The goal of this movement is to review some of the biggest age-friendly community efforts, so that policy can be tackled at a federal level.

It is encouraging to see that many cities are already starting to push forward with age-friendly ideas. Without the support of people from all age groups and demographics, it would not be possible. The elderly are a big part of society. Forcing them to leave their homes, in order to find suitable nursing care and social facilities, is not the way that society should be going.

Are you looking for a suitable place to live, so that your aging parents or relatives will be able to enjoy their lives fully? It's important to find a city where policy makers, and community groups, have a progressive outlook. The word “progressive” is often used to imply that things should all be made to cater for the young. However, truly forward-looking societies clearly need to take care of all of their citizens. The notion of putting seniors in their own place, where they won't “bother” anyone is drastically outdated.

Look for the terms “age-friendly” and “age-in-place”, or anything similar, when you are choosing a suitable location. If you are in need of nursing care, whether it's in-home or a dedicated place for your loved one to reside, please keep these things in mind as well.

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