California Report Offers Urban Strategies for Aging Well
The "sweeping demographic transformation" that will elevate the population of those 65 or older will place unusual pressures on California cities, according to "Aging Well: New Ideas for an Older California," a new publication developed by the Center for Civic Partnerships of the Public Health Institute, a nonprofit based in Sacramento, Calif.
California, which has the largest 65-plus population in the United States, will see its older residents more than double, from 3.5 million in 2000 (10.6% of the state's population) to 8.2 million in 2030 (17.8%). According to Civic Partnerships' executive director Joan M. Twiss, "Cities and other units of local government, as well as nonprofits and the business sector, need to start planning and allocating resources now to avert more costly remedial measures in the future."
"Aging Well" includes the following checklist of strategies for communities, adapted here with permission.
* Appoint a resident commission to conduct research and develop a multiyear action plan.
* List volunteer opportunities in city and community publications, on websites and in other public venues.
* Develop public and private resources to promote, recruit, retain and celebrate volunteer work by older adults.
* Optimize participation in public meetings through assistive technologies, such as hearing or translation devices.
* Sponsor meetings at sites where older adults congregate.
* Encourage elders' involvement in policy development and advocacy.
* Promote safe, alternative transportation methods beyond the personal automobile, such as bicycling, walking, and neighborhood electric vehicles.
* Ensure that local transportation services meet older-adult needs by, for example, linking van and shuttle services with mass transit or providing transportation vouchers.
* Offer incentives to developers that incorporate smart-growth principles into community design.
* Develop infrastructure improvements (wide sidewalks, benches, good lighting, and increased time limits at crosswalk signals, for example) that support safe use by pedestrians and those with mobility impairments.
VARIED HOUSING OPTIONS
* Review state planning documents on housing to identify gaps between current supply and projected older-adult needs based on income, cultural identity and other population-based factors.
* Work with lending institutions, the building industry and others to preserve affordable senior housing.
* Work with lenders, builders and others to build mixed-use, affordable senior housing.
* Support development of barrier-free housing by endorsing concepts of universal design and visitability. …