Creating Aging-Friendly Communities

Creating Aging-Friendly Communities

Creating Aging-Friendly Communities

Creating Aging-Friendly Communities


Creating Aging-Friendly Communities (CAFC) examines the need to redesign America's communities to respond to the realities of our rapidly aging society. The text focuses on the interface between individuals and their environments, and the ways in which communities can enhance individual and community well-being. What differentiates CAFC from other books is its breadth of focus, its comprehensive and evidence-based consideration of key concepts, its inclusion of social as well as physical infrastructure characteristics, and its intensive examination of models of community change for fostering aging-friendliness. It presents a conceptually and empirically-based model of aging-friendliness, identifies environmental modifications that could enhance individual and community well-being, outlines a typology of community change approaches, and considers the potential efficacy of those approaches. This book identifies practical implications for policies, programs, and knowledge development designed to help communities become more aging-friendly.


Why America’s Communities Must Become
More Aging Friendly

How do you want to live as you grow older? Will you be integrated into the lifeblood of your community, actively involved in meaningful relationships and activities, able to go where you want—whether to the grocery store, the doctor, a place of religious practice, a friend’s house? Or, will you feel like a prisoner in your own home, isolated from the rest of the community, at the mercy of a world designed for automobiles that you cannot drive safely? Increasingly, the answers to these questions very much depend on the community in which you live.

This book is about creating communities that are “aging friendly”—places where older adults are actively involved, valued, and supported (Alley, Liebig, Pynoos, Banerjee, & Choi, 2007) in a manner that reflects their unique developmental needs and priorities. We use the term aging friendly rather than age friendly or elder friendly in recognition of the dynamic, transactional nature of the aging process as it unfolds in an ever-changing environmental context.

The Future Is Now

Less than 20 years from now, 78 million Americans—fully 20% of the population—will be over the age of 65. Twenty-three million—6% of the population—will be over the age of 80. More than a third will be over the age of 50. If you were born before 1995, you will be in the majority. And, if you were born before 1970, you will be one of those 78 million Americans ages 65 or older (U.S. Census, 2014).

Already, many of America’s cities and towns have entered that future world. If you live in Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Miami, Cleveland, Hartford, or Tampa–St. Petersburg, more than 20% of residents are already over the age of 60. Eighty-nine . . .

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