Aging in Place in the Suburbs: Making “Lifelong Communities”

The move to suburbia over the past decades has been for privacy, elbow room, and affordability. Currently, the suburbs are home to as much as half of the U.S. population and more than 30 million people age 55-plus. However, what may have been a good place to grow up starts to be a tough place to grow old. Suburban living means maintaining yards and homes and driving everywhere. (Research shows that men and women who reach their 70s, on average, outlive their ability to drive by six and 10 years, respectively.) Despite these difficulties, AARP surveys report fully 85% of surveyed individuals age 50-plus still wish to remain in their communities for as long as possible.

It is no wonder that there is a growing movement afoot (a movement started in the 80s with New Urbanism) with a community goal of allowing residents to stay put in their own homes as they age, to redesign the suburbs with more areas for walking to services, and more greenways and parks to promote social interaction.

So look for retrofitting of suburbs coming to a suburb near you. Look for redesign to include neighborhood centers (think: town squares), “walkability” (leaving the car in the garage) and lots of choices (a mix of housing options, services and amenities) are emphasized.

To read this interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, click here.

To find out more about new Urbanism, click here.

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