Stephanie K. Firestone is a senior strategic policy advisor with AARP International. As an urban planner, Stephanie leads efforts aimed at incorporating aging considerations as a normative part of local planning practice—both nationally and internationally.

Rightsizing: A Multigenerational Housing Strategy

Importing Age-friendly Innovations Blog Series Empty nesters in the US increasingly talk about “downsizing.” Perhaps a more appropriate frame is “rightsizing,” which the American author Ciji Ware used in her 2007 book—illuminating the need for a change “when your old life just doesn’t fit anymore.” The term is used more widely in other parts of the world, and the distinction is subtle yet significant. The concept of rightsizing provides a more holistic frame for the kind of home that is …

“Planning for Aging” is Taking Off

One of the most exciting developments in the livable communities movement is the increasing collaboration between aging professionals and planners—professionals who shape the form and function of future communities. Some incredible progress was made on this front at the 2018 Livable Communities for All Ages (LCA) Summit in San Francisco March 29. Over two hundred planners and aging professionals experienced what this cross-sector planning looks like and committed to collaborating better moving forward. The summit, which took place at the …

‘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 …

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 …