Creating Age-Friendly Communities in Canada

Great models for living abound with our Canadian neighbors to the north, who are building wonderful mixed-age, mixed-use communities that offer independent living for their elders. Consider the municipalities of Vernon and Langley in British Columbia, where I recently spent time helping them lay out walkability ground rules for age-friendly neighborhoods. Vernon is the smaller of the two, with a population of 60,000. The city has an intact, prosperous downtown, with many restored and new multistory buildings for seniors in …

Active Transportation

Active transportation connects people and places. It provides access to jobs, education, shopping, transit and recreation. In short, trails, bike pathways and greenways make for great places to live and to visit. Next time you see one of those “America’s Best Places to Live” lists that magazines often compile, you’ll notice that most of these heralded communities have one thing in common: a great trail system and safe places to walk and bike. Billings, Mont., is one such community. Long …

Getting From Point A to Point B ­for Free!

Cost can sometimes be a deterrent for many seeking to ride the bus or train. Luckily, various communities around the country have an easy solution to this problem via free bus systems. These cost-free transportation systems are an excellent resource for residents of all ages. However, they introduce a unique opportunity for boomers looking for a simple way to get around, especially in cases when biking or walking isn’t an option. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter In …

How Do You Know If a Town Is Right for You?

In earlier blog posts, I’ve addressed the idea of retiring in the neighborhood you’ve come to love, the one where you have established friendships and social circles. But what if your quest is to go someplace new, in the same town or even far away? My wife, Lys, and I moved more than 3,000 miles, leaving Florida for the cooler climate of the Pacific Northwest. We wanted to be in the center of innovative town making, a place where we …

Walking Shapes Our Bodies and Our Lives

Our built and natural environments play a vital role in our physical, social, psychological, spiritual and emotional health. So, it’s important to find a neighborhood that’s well designed, connected, and to protect the green space that runs through it. Walkability lies at the heart of this picture. It builds social ties and cohesion; it strengthens our legs, lungs, hearts and minds, which in turn helps prevent or fight heart disease, diabetes, dementia and other serious health problems. As walking becomes …

Is Your Community Walkable?

When we see the yellow school bus making its rounds and picking up kids, we know it’s time to turn around and head home. So go the early morning walks with one of my friends from the neighborhood. We’ve been meeting at the corner of a nearby school for years. We talk about health, careers, family, local arts and theater, good TV, bad TV. Stay Informed: Sign up for the AARP Livable Communities Newsletter Walking is a big part of my …