Senior-Friendly Communities

According to Census Bureau statistics, by the year 2050, one in five Americans, around 86.7 million, will be age 65 or older. That is nearly twice today’s number. Staggering, if you really think about it.

With that many Americans well into their golden years, it is vital that communities be prepared for the unique needs of this age group. According to an AP-released article, dated 9/27/06, a recent survey was taken of over 1790 towns across the country, and of those only 46% were found to be forward-thinking enough to have begun a effective strategy toward making their communities more senior-friendly.

While that leaves a whopping 54% of the towns surveyed that had not previously considered this demographic shift, the resulting data has spawned an awareness not only amongst those that need to begin their preparations but also to a sharing of excellent ideas among those already in the process of implementing a community facelift.

Adequate foresight to make gradual changes would be prudent in order to make the changes that would be necessary cost-effective. Communities could work within their given budgets, while ensuring that new, costly additions or replacements take into consideration the needs of its aging citizens.

There are many excellent ideas surfacing, such as the gradual replacement of worn or outdated road signs with those having larger lettering and better reflective qualities. The n4a organization has put together a list of “10 U.S. Communities with Great Ideas.” One that really caught my attention and was already being implemented in five towns in the state of Massachusetts was one where these towns have begun a tax reduction/tax work-off program for seniors who are community volunteers. What an excellent way to keep seniors active and involved in their community and reward them for their service. I, for one, hope this proves to be a successful program and catches on nationwide. (n4a article link)

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