If you or a loved one is considering a long-term plan for aging in place and staying in your own home, consider your whole neighborhood, not just whether the bathrooms and stairs are accessible. While you can add handrails to a bathroom or a lift to stairs, adding community sidewalks isn’t a DIY project. A walkable community can offer gentle exercise and independence without a car, but did you know it may be good for your brain, too? Recent studies suggest walkable neighborhoods are linked to brain health.
Check out the walkability score of your current community, and take some time to think about whether you or your loved one is living in the right home and the right neighborhood to create the ideal aging-in-place experience!
Walkable Neighborhoods Bring Health Benefits
You’ve already heard that Millennials, probable future buyers of your home, favor walkable neighborhoods where they can reach transit, restaurants, and shopping without a car.
But there’s another reason to pick a walkable community when you’re downsizing or choosing a new neighborhood. Walkable communities can have a positive effect on your health, specifically your blood pressure.
That’s according to preliminary findings of a study from Medical Daily and video presentation by Dr. Maria Chiu, a scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The research suggests that people living in walkable neighborhoods had a 54 percent lower risk of high blood pressure when compared to those who moved to less walkable areas.
Researchers used Walk Score a site that allows you to type in an address to see just how walkable it is, and data from the Canadian Community Health Survey to see what happened to participants’ blood pressure as they moved from highly walkable neighborhoods to less walkable areas.
The theory is that those living in pedestrian-friendly areas incorporated physical activity into their routines as they went about taking care of the daily tasks of life.