The U.S. has a rapidly aging population. By 2030, every baby boomer will be age 65 or older, which means that one out of every five U.S. citizens will be of retirement age. Since eight in ten U.S. residents who are 65 and older live in metropolitan areas, the aging population will have a big impact on cities. A few U.S. cities are trying to plan ahead by launching some initiatives to become more age-friendly.
The city and county are trying to make the area the “best place to grow old in the world.” The plan is to create more affordable and accessible transportation, safer streets, prepping health care industry workers to care for the aging population, and incorporating ideas for better prevention and responses in regard to people with dementia wandering in the area.
The Age-Friendly DC initiative involves a Safe-at-Home program with grants to help residents update their homes so they can age in them, construction of more than 500 units of below-market-rate housing for older residents, include those who are raising grandchildren.
Tampa is working to create the nation’s first Age-Friendly Public Health System and is working to test out “Grandkids on-demand,” which pairs young adults with Medicare beneficiaries to help with chores around the house.
Kansas City, MO
Kansas City is involved in the Communities for All Ages program, along with Raytown and Gladstone, MO, and Prairie Village and Mission, KS. They are working together to develop age-friendly criteria to assess their cities and identify practical steps to improve city facilities and services. They are focusing on public outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation and mobility; housing and commercial development; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community and health services.
As the population ages, it’s important for our communities to plan ahead and make changes to ensure that seniors can live their best lives.