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Optimal Living Action Briefs


By 2030 one in five Americans will be age 65 or older. To prepare for this demographic shift, programs and services must be transformed and there must bea push for supportive environments and communities that foster healthy aging in place. The Optimal Living action briefs were developed as part of the Environmental and Policy Change for Healthy Aging Initiative by the CDC Healthy Aging Research Network to promote promising strategies for establishing livable communities where all residents can live comfortably regardless of age or ability.

Key Points

The action briefs are divided into four sections, including promising strategies, frameworks to guide change, getting around, and home environments. Each section is intended to help planners, policymakers and local officials understand the measures that must be taken to establish communities that will accommodate the future needs of the rapidly increasing older adult population. The action briefs emphasize healthy aging and address the top priorities related to housing, mobility, and transportation.

Other report highlights include:

  1. The Atlanta Regional Commission Lifelong Communities Initiative brings together organizations from planning, engineering, private development, public health, and aging services to plan for Atlanta’s growing older adult population.
  2. The 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) provides a blueprint for transportation solutions in Tucson/Pima County, Arizona. This plan identifies affordable transportation improvements to the regional transportation system to make communities in Pima County livable for residents of all ages.
  3. The village of Bolingbrook, Illinois enacted a mandatory ordinance that helped to develop thousands of new homes with key Inclusive Home Design features such as zero-step entrances, lever door handles and wide doorways.
  4. Walk Wise, Drive Smart is an initiative developed in Hendersonville, North Carolina that seeks to improve sidewalks, create safer walking environments, and provide “senior-friendly” walking routes.

The Optimal Living action briefs provide direct and useful information for planners, community leaders, policy makers, and local officials looking for ways to enhance the livability of their communities. The action briefs are an excellent resource for any community seeking to better understand the steps that must be taken in order to support healthy aging for all residents.

How to Use

Planners, community leaders, and policy makers should use the Optimal Living action briefs to gain an understanding of the importance of planning for the growing older adult population. Actions that communities can take to support change for healthy aging are outlined in the Promising Strategies action brief. Step-by-step planning and evaluation frameworks are also provided, as well as community features to consider and promising policy actions that foster senior mobility.

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