To really thrive as they get older, people need to stay involved in the full range of community life. Volunteering, working, participating in civic and faith-based activities, socializing, simply taking a walk – all enhance our quality of life and contribute to physical and mental health. But outdated and uncoordinated approaches to housing, transportation and land use make it harder than it should be for people to stay actively engaged. AARP supports local policies that help people keep connected to their communities as they get older. We believe a great deal can be done to achieve this goal, and that local innovations will be a key to successful aging in the coming decades.
Land-use rules should promote a wide range of housing that is affordable and accessible, including assisted living and other options, to meet the diverse needs of families. We urge homebuilders to adopt design features, such as zero-step entries and wide doorways, that make it safer and more convenient for aging residents to live in their homes and avoid accidents. Home repair and modification programs should be available to those who need them.
Easy, affordable transit options are crucial for those who cannot—or should not—drive themselves around. AARP supports more funding for mass transportation and paratransit services like mini-buses, so people can get where they need without having to drive. Communities also should encourage walking by maintaining safe and adequate sidewalks, crosswalks and foot paths. Streets should be designed for the safety and convenience of everyone, including drivers, walkers and bicyclists.