Our population is rapidly aging. In fact, the number of American adults over 65 years of age will double between 2000 and 2030. Though most of us don’t want to admit that getting older comes with physical, mental and lifestyle changes, the fact is, it does. As we age, it can become more difficult to get around, things are harder to read, narrow spaces are more difficult to navigate, and a simple fall can lead to severe medical issues. Luckily, some locales are ahead of the curve and paving the way; here’s a look at how the world around us is becoming more senior-friendly by the minute.
The challenge for cities today is to create public places that are equally comfortable for children and adults, the disabled, and those in peak physical condition. Age-friendly cities encourage physical activity at all stages of life by providing opportunities for optimal health and participation. In other words, it adapts structures, services and spaces so they are inclusive of older people, and accessible to those who need help getting around.
What Does Senior-Friendly Mean?
From going to the grocery store or taking a walk, to boarding a bus to go downtown, things that we take for granted earlier in life become more difficult as we age. Spaces that are senior-friendly are created with the needs and preferences of seniors accounted for, while promoting safety, respect and inclusion.
Walkable streets, good lighting, ample sidewalks and other stable footpaths, accessible parks and other recreational centers, and pleasant aesthetics like plants and flowers all go a long way toward making spaces senior-friendly.
Inside buildings, safety and accessibility are key; adequate lighting and signage, walkways and lots of rest areas can help seniors feel comfortable and safe.
Hazards to Remove from Public Spaces
Many hazardous conditions exist today, and they need to be addressed. Ignoring them can cause injuries, or in the severest cases, even worse. Consider slippery grocery store floors, poorly lit hallways, and stairwells but no elevators; all of these common things can lead to falls and other injuries in seniors. Injuries like hip fractures are common among seniors and often cause severe problems and seriously affect their health and longevity.
Additionally, things like signs that are hard to read, music that is distractingly loud, lack of places to rest or even inadequate toilet facilities are problems for many seniors, and are areas that need to be addressed. The ADA even suggests making customer service friendlier for seniors by adding seating or a separate line.
Senior-friendly spaces have the opportunity to benefit everyone. Research shows that seniors live healthier, happier lives when they are around all age groups, but for that to happen, they must feel comfortable and safe in senior-friendly public spaces.
At Concordia, we enable each of our residents to remain an active part of their communities while providing them with all the care and comforts they need. Our staff puts their faith into everything we do, going above and beyond the minimum standard for senior care facilities to provide the highest quality of care to every person we serve. Just schedule a tour of any of our facilities today, and see for yourself how our excellent care can help make a difference in your daily life.
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