Our population is aging, and so shall we all! Developing and maintaining cities with Senior services, greater walkability, accommodations for disabilities, and other age-friendly elements means more home sales, more valuable homes, and a more popular city with a growing population of people who are (or will be) looking for a community that allows graceful and enjoyable aging-in-place!
Why Universal Design, Age-friendly Cities Matter
When you’re healthy, spry, and experience no barriers to getting around, it’s hard to imagine the tremendous impact an illness or physical disability can have on day-to-day life.
It’s probably one reason that many disregard all the talk about universal design and age-friendly cities.
It just doesn’t apply.
Until it does.
“A Day in the Life of Karen,” a short video about a 74-year-old Columbus, Ohio woman, illustrates exactly how an illness—in this case muscular dystrophy—affects someone’s ability to get around a house, a neighborhood, and city streets.
The video (http://bit.ly/2koWJ1g) is included with the educational materials of Age-friendly Columbus (http://bit.ly/2ySHGyf), an initiative to make the city accessible and inclusive for residents over the age of 50.
Karen’s health problems affect her coordination and balance and she moves around on a mobility cart.
Some spots are maneuverable, giving her the ability to get out and be independent. Other spots—poor curb cuts on sidewalks and washrooms, for example— make things challenging.
The video illustrates why universal design—age-proofing a property for your future– is so crucial when you’re moving or renovating your house. Equally important is taking a close look at a city where you’ll be living during your senior years to be certain you’ll be able to live a full life there.
That’s one aim of Columbus’s city-wide initiative, and it has been assessing the city’s age-friendliness to determine where and how to make improvements. The city is relying on the World Health Organization (http://bit.ly/1udnToR) guidelines to create its plan.