By 2030, older adults will make up 20 percent of the United States population. Partners for Livable Communities, through a grant from the MetLife Foundation, created this brochure to highlight the societal benefits of creating livable communities for all ages. The brochure focuses on four areas of senior livability adaptations that can benefit all age groups: housing, transportation, workforce development, and civic/cultural engagement and lifelong learning. Each of these works toward the common goal of allowing older adults to comfortably age in place.
This brochure uses relevant case studies from across the country to support each of the targeted areas of improvement for increasing livability. Enhancements in housing focus on the idea of Universal Design – making minor changes to a house that make it accessible for older adults, while still attractive to younger people. In addition, the case study features an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) program in Santa Cruz, CA that involves private housing units adjacent to family homes.
Other highlights from the brochure include:
- As older adults become unable to drive, their decline in mobility brings about mental and physical health issues. Volunteers in Wichita, KS created the Independent Transportation Network (ITN), which provides free or low-cost rides to older adults. The success of the program sparked the creation of ITN America, a national network that provided 26,000 rides in 2009.
- As an active, highly educated generation, Boomers find the traditional idea of retirement less appealing than previous generations. Successful workforce development programs have been established to find meaningful paid and unpaid work for older adults.
- Civic and cultural development opportunities allow older adults to contribute time and energy into meaningful community work.
How to Use
As the age shift approaches, livable communities are an increasingly important item on many agendas. Planners and local organizations can use this brochure to understand the benefits of livability for all ages and to generate ideas for improvement. Looking at case studies from other successful communities should inspire localities to develop plans to allow older adults to age in place.