‘We Should Talk’: Cross-Sector Conversations on Livable Communities Show Great Promise

By Rodney Harrell and Stephanie K. Firestone The thousands of community planners who will come together this May at the American Planning Association’s (APA) National Planning Conference are increasingly aware of a demographic trend: Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over age 65 by 2030. Translation: Planners need to get together with aging network professionals and talk! Why? Many aging network professionals are in the business of designing plans with individuals to help them to thrive in …

We Must Make Our Communities More Livable for All

This post originally appeared in the IAGG 2017 Bridge blog. Across the globe populations are aging, and this far-reaching change is happening much faster than most people realize. In just five years, the number of older persons will surpass one billion; they are already a fast-growing presence in cities and towns of all sizes, every region and all segments of society.   Photo courtesy of Dan Burden This change provides countries across the globe with a great opportunity, because older …

‘Dementia Friends’ Initiative Creates Respectful Communities for People of All Ages

In 2016, an estimated 5.4 million Americans had Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. And while people of all ages can have dementia, 8.8 percent of adults age 65 and over have the disease. With greater longevity and rapidly increasing numbers of individuals with dementia, we are all likely to encounter a person living with dementia as we go about our lives. We may witness a person living with the disease facing any number of challenges in navigating …

New Survey Shows That America’s Mayors and AARP Know What’s Important

I spent time a few weeks ago with hundreds of our nation’s mayors at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 85th Annual Winter Meeting. In addition to listening to leaders like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx (during his final hours in that position) talk about the state of our cities, I shared the results of a survey AARP and the U.S. Conference of Mayors conducted last year. In the survey, …

Redefining Home to Address the Future of Housing

by Rodney Harrell with Shannon Guzman and Dan Soliman   In 1961, AARP’s founder, Ethel Andrus, presented President Dwight Eisenhower with Freedom House. The scale model of a uniquely designed home contained what we would now call universal design features that allow people to stay in their homes as they age. Fifty-seven years later, we continue to implement that vision. This morning in Memphis, Walter Moody, a veteran who has faced a range of life challenges including housing instability, is …

Inviting All Planners: Cross-Sector Summit to Create Livable Communities for All Ages

The aging-in-community of a rapidly aging population demands a fundamental shift in planning in order to minimize the economic, social and health challenges that will otherwise overwhelm communities. Nearly 90 percent of Americans 65 and older tell us that they want to age in their homes or communities. And two-thirds of the 85-plus population — the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. — has at least one disability. We must create communities that are livable across the life span and spectrum …