Age-friendly communities essential to urban elders' well-being

May 15, 2015, The Gerontological Society of America

The future of communities around the world will in large part be determined by the efforts to achieve a high quality of life for their older citizens, according to the latest issue of Public Policy & Aging Report (PP&AR), titled "Making a Home in the City: The Age-Friendly Community Movement." A total of seven articles argue that developing cities that meet the interests of all generations should be an important goal for economic and social policy.

"The concomitant growth of cities and of an older population within those cities has come to generate a disjuncture between physical infrastructure and resident needs," states PP&AR Editor Robert B. Hudson, PhD. "Modern economic growth results largely from private sector investments and incentives which pay little heed to the concerns of vulnerable populations."

Age-friendly are designed to promote aging-in-place, which is the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, income, or ability level.

This PP&AR brings together analysts and activists who have struggled with how to promote ideas and initiatives to enhance the well-being of urban elders. The authors address the evolution of the age-friendly community movement, a present a review of four major age-friendly community initiatives, and conclude with a challenge to move beyond locally-based initiatives and to engage policymakers at the state and federal levels to galvanize the movement. Together these conceptual and empirical pieces provide a thorough review of what forms age-friendly communities may take, how they work on the ground, and what next steps should be considered.

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