Nearly 80 million members of the Boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, have reached or are quickly approaching the traditional retirement age of 65. Of this massive population, an overwhelming number want to age in place, in their homes and communities. However, few communities are prepared for the adjustments and enhancements that must be made in order to accommodate the needs of these older residents. To assist communities with planning and preparing for the coming age wave, the Center for Civic Partnerships created the Aging Well in Communities toolkit. This toolkit provides the necessary resources for local governments and community leaders to successfully plan for aging well in their communities.
To foster the efforts of government officials, local planners, and community leaders, this toolkit offers a community planning overview, which presents the key elements of an aging well planning process and breaks the process down into manageable steps and procedures. Additionally, the toolkit provides step-by-step guides for conducting three key data-gathering activities including resident surveys, public forums, and focus groups. Each guide contains specific instructions, examples, and checklists to use when performing such activities. These tools can be accessed through the main toolkit along with useful resources and case studies of communities that have successfully implemented, or are working to establish, aging well planning processes.
Other report highlights include:
- City of Kirkland, Washington – this case study features Kirkland, Washington and what the city has done to support human and social services for older adults and multigenerational families in the community during the deep recession. Rather than taking the obvious path of cutting budgets for parks and other community services, the City of Kirkland and the five surrounding cities increased funding of these services by $5.7 million in fiscal year 2009-2010. After making these investments, the city saw noticeable improvements in the community including a strengthened social network and increased activity in the local economy.
- City of Hayward, California – this case study features Hayward, California and its South Hayward BART Transit Village, a residential mixed-used development intended to better meet the needs of all community residents regardless of age. This community addresses some of the major concerns that affect the livability of traditional neighborhoods such as limited access to public transportation and affordable housing options.
How to Use
This toolkit can be used to better understand the elements of an aging well planning process, their effect on the overall livability of a community, and the techniques that have been used to establish aging well planning techniques across the country. Government officials, community planners, and local leaders should pay particular attention to the case studies featured in the toolkit to understand what other areas have done to successfully implement aging well planning approaches, as well as the lessons these areas learned along the way.