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.
Have you taken a good look around your home to see if it will accommodate the changes your body will likely go through as it ages? Have you done a similar scan at the home of an older relative or friend where you might be helping out? It's not a bad idea. We make sure our homes are protected and we're vigilant about making them safe for children. Why not make them more comfortable and convenient to accommodate the normal age-related physical changes that creep up on us? Why not make the home more functional and safe to accommodate limitations we may experience due to disease or chronic health conditions?
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.
At some point, many of us will find that the house that once fit us so perfectly no longer does. Maybe it's the stairs or the bathtub or the carpet or the lighting. But, given that most of us would prefer to remain in our homes rather than move, it makes sense to change our homes to accommodate these changing needs. The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence has ideas to help you create a living space that works well at all different points in life, whether you're remodeling your whole house or making smaller changes throughout your home.
When we think about whether we fit our homes, often what comes to mind is whether our things - such as furniture, hobbies and stuff - will fit into the home. But we can also consider whether our home fits us - our needs, our desire to live comfortably, our ability to move around the space conveniently, and our capacity to accommodate any temporary limitations we may experience. Ask yourself: Is my home comfortable, convenient and safe for all members of my household, including those who may visit, now and in the future?
Earlier posts in this series focused on how cities and suburbs can use biking, walking and other forms of active transportation to help older residents stay in their homes. But what about older adults who live in smaller, more sparsely populated communities?
With today's post, I want to pick up where I left off last time, when I wrote about bringing a "people first" focus to our streets. Let's start by celebrating some of the people who are succeeding, which hopefully will embolden you to take up the same cause in your own town.
I am a lifelong baseball fan. I grew up going with my dad to Yankees Stadium and watching Whitey Ford throw fastballs. Decades later, when the Montreal Expos brought baseball back to Washington, D.C., and became the Nationals, I threw my support behind them. And even though my Nats didn't live up to the media hype of this season, I'll be with them through thick and thin.
Where we choose to live - our communities and our own homes - can have an enormous impact on our happiness, well-being and fulfillment. Through the stages of our lives, many factors affect our decisions about where we live and the kind of homes we live in. Living on your own for the first time, you might have chosen an affordable apartment near your college town or first job. Later, you may have selected a community near your job and a home within your budget.
The challenges we all face when thinking about aging in place are similar, but you will have different needs depending on whether you live in a city, small city, urban, suburban or rural setting. These challenges and concerns can be exacerbated if you live in a very rural and even mountainous region. This is unless you are fortunate enough to live in the service area of Mercy Care of the Adirondacks (my favorite place on the planet).
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