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Livability For All: The 2015 AARP Livable Communities Survey of Orange Mound a community of Memphis, TN

A livable neighborhood provides resources that allow residents of the community to age in place, and fosters engagement in their neighborhood's civic, economic, and social life. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed eight domains that help influence the health and quality of life of older adults: housing, outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, neighborhood support and health services, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, and communication and information. The AARP Tennessee office commissioned this livable communities survey of the Orange Mound community residents age 50 and older to better understand the needs of older adults with regards to being able to age in place. The survey focused on community experiences, housing, transportation and caregiving issues. The neighborhood needs gap analysis was conducted to identify and prioritize areas of focus.

Key findings include:

  • Orange Mound residents age 50+ have deep roots in their community. More than eight in ten (82%) have lived in their community for over 25 years.  Most do not plan to move, and six in ten (61%) say their community is a good place for older people to live.

  • While Orange Mound residents age 50+ see the beauty and value in their community, there is room for improvement to make it the best livable community possible. Using several of the World Health Organization's areas of livable community, important community features as well as perceived community needs by Orange Mound adults age 50+ were identified.

  • In addition to identifying important community features, community needs were assessed through a gap analysis. A "need" can be defined as a gap between what is and what should be. In order to identify the needs of Orange Mound residents age 50+, survey respondents were asked about the importance of a community feature and service, then they were asked if these features and services existed in their community. These questions were then paired together to identify community needs or "gaps."

An important element of creating livability for all must be individual preferences. These survey findings help policymakers, planners, and others better understand the needs of an aging population in order to begin to brainstorm steps and policies that can be taken to improve livability.

A total of 268 usable surveys were returned by the cut-off date, for a response rate of nine percent.  This means that 95 out of 100 samples of this same size and population were given the same survey.  The responses to the questions would fall within a range of plus or minus 6.0 percentage points of what would have been obtained if every resident age 50-plus in the sampled area were asked the same questions. The sample was weighted by age and gender to reflect the actual distribution of residents age 50-plus in the Orange Mound community of Memphis,Tennessee.  For more information contact Aisha Bonner Cozad at ABonner@aarp.org.

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