Report: Cities are 'ground zero' for seniors, but lack accommodations
Oct. 29, 2019
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Subscribe NowDive Insight:The report says that many American cities aren’t doing enough to prepare for the needs of an aging population, including a failure to acknowledge "the interconnection between their aging communities and their cities’ economic health and sustainability." That, said report co-author and Center for the Future of Aging Associate Director Caroline Servat, leaves governments at risk for older Americans falling behind and neglecting policies that can help all residents.
"From local workforce policies that enable flexible work arrangements, to home sharing models that offer creative solutions to the affordability crunch in housing markets across the country, Age-Forward solutions hinge on a multigenerational approach to inform how cities grow, build, and care in the future," Servat said in an email. An Age-Forward perspective, she added, "fosters intergenerational engagement and opportunities."
There is some progress being made. Several cities have passed age-friendly strategic plans, or enacted policies aimed at housing affordability (by age 65, approximately 40% of middle-class people fall into poverty or near-poverty, according to the report). Washington, DC, for example, has permitted accessory dwelling units to allow older people to stay in small homes on family’s property and has constructed below-market-rate housing for older residents. The Gensler Research Institute has proposed a “BoomTown” model that would convert entire neighborhoods to age-friendly communities as an alternative to retirement communities.
And trends like new urbanism, complete streets and Vision Zero programs are also strategies that will help seniors, the report finds. One area that could require more attention, Servat said, is technology, as cities integrate more connected infrastructure and digital tools.
Even though such strategies can help older Americans, Servat noted that it is "critical for cities to cultivate cross-sector programs to bridge the digital literacy gap for lower-income older adults and invest in the development of open data tools to help older adults navigate tech-based challenges."
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Jeff Sodoma, MPA, Esq. is a lawyer based in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Hello, there! Welcome to my blog. I will use this blog as a platform for my writing. I will write about topics in the legal world, certainly, as well as everything else under the sun, because I have many interests (and viewpoints). All views expressed in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are mine alone. One of my interests is music--my wife believes that I should go on "Beat Shazam" because I know so many songs--and I will be, from time to time, analyzing song lyrics and how they relate to the legal world.