Georgia, like many other areas of the nation, is experiencing a significant shift in its population. Between 2000 and 2030 the population of older adults in Georgia is expected to increase by nearly 140 percent. This significant change affects almost every aspect of community life including state and local budgets, development patterns, planning techniques, healthcare services, transportation spending, and recreational activities. With this upcoming change comes tremendous opportunity for the cities and counties of Georgia, as well as many potential challenges and obstacles. The Georgia Council on Aging produced this report to outline the key adjustments and enhancements that must be made to communities to ensure that they will accommodate the needs of all residents regardless of age.
To meet the changing needs of the current and future older adult population in Georgia and foster long-term economic development in communities across the state, Georgia will need to transform its neighborhoods and cities into places where people of all ages and abilities can live safely and comfortably throughout their lifetime. Changes and reformations must be made to also every facet of community living including – transportation, healthcare, planning and zoning, housing, and civic engagement. This report highlights specific action steps that can be taken to make communities in Georgia and beyond more livable and accommodating for all residents.
Key action steps include:
- Housing – Make community housing more accommodating of the demands of older adults by proving supportive services for older adults who want to age in place, expanding the range of supportive housing options available, and improving the affordability of housing options for older adults in Georgia.
- Transportation – Ensure that transportation options are available and accessible for older adults who cannot or do not want to drive a car in the community by focusing on driving alternatives and active transportation, design and maintain streets to address the needs of older drivers including decreased visibility and reduced reaction times, and deliver comprehensive transportation planning and infrastructure that will meet the needs of all residents.
- Civic engagement – Gain the interest and engagement of older adults in the community by providing volunteer opportunities at the local, regional and state level and reduce barriers that may deter older adults from volunteering such as a lack of transportation.
- Health – Make sure communities can handle the changing health needs of older adults by expanding the healthcare workforce prepared to serve an aging population, developing facilities and programs that encourage regular physical activity and healthy living among older adults, increasing preventative care services, and improving efforts to assist older adults with managing chronic care conditions.
- Economic self-sufficiency – Assist future older adults with maintaining their economic independence as they age by creating incentives for households saving for retirement and long-term healthcare expenses and addressing potential gaps in Georgia’s future labor force.
How to Use
Government officials, policymakers, and local leaders can use this report to gain an understanding of the board array of changes that must be made to communities across the nation to better meet the needs of current and future older adult populations. Though the recommendations are made for Georgia specifically, any community leader or local official can use this report as a guide for making improvements in their own community that will foster safe and comfortable living for residents of all ages and abilities.
View full report: Georgia for a Lifetime: Preparing for Georgia’s Future (PDF – 501 KB)