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Monday, February 15, 2010

Benefits of Aging In Place for your Community

I live in Naples, Florida where we are blessed to have a large elderly population. Some in our society may think this is a shortcoming in the community, but it is one of our greatest assets. This issue is explored by the Partners for Livable Communities and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging in their Aging in Place Initiative. “With sizeable amounts of free time and disposable money, a majority of older Americans act as economic generators, philanthropists and volunteers in a community.”

The area prospers when our senior community is able live safely and independently in their residences and get out of their homes to do things in the area. This is one of the reasons why the Sunbelt is such an attractive location for year round residences. There are few days of being snow or ice bound. Shops, restaurants, libraries and parks are utilized when much of the working and school age population are engaged and there is excess capacity. Our community would loose on many levels if seniors are not able to stay be engaged in volunteerism, philanthropy and recreation. Visit the library on any afternoon and to see seniors generously giving their time to teach adults to read and speak English as a second language, and to tell stories to pre-school children.
photo source

“The main purpose of having older Americans age in place is to make them feel comfortable in their surroundings. If the elderly cannot enjoy their latter years due to service, accessibility and program constraints, communities must reevaluate their priorities.” It is our responsibility to develop homes that can be lived in for a lifetime, communities that are welcoming and accessible and public areas that are universally designed to be enjoyed by our diverse and rich population."