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 But outdated and uncoordinated approaches to housing, transportation and land use make it harder than it should be for people to stay actively engaged.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.
A Secure, Healthy Environment
Everyone benefits from a safe, healthy environment. Communities that avoid sprawling development and traffic congestion reward their residents with cleaner air. Secure, well maintained parks and recreation areas encourage walking, sports and other exercise. Land use policies that promote an accessible mix of business, cultural and recreational facilities attract people to common spaces that enhance community life, reduce crime and combat the mental and physical dangers of isolation.
Speedy Access to the Internet
In today’s world, everyone needs access to affordable, high-speed connections. Yet many parts of rural and urban America lack access to broadband technology, which enables fast connections on the Internet. AARP supports efforts to encourage the spread of broadband, which makes the world more accessible to everyone and can be especially valuable to people with limited mobility, including those with disabilities and the very old.
Telecommuting (including for volunteer work), online learning, telemedicine, support-monitoring devices and other technologies are all facilitated by broadband, which only will become more important in the future.
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