This week I had the exciting honor of attending and presenting at the AARP Livable Communities Placemaking Workshop in Denver, CO. Here are few takeaways and insights as I see them:
- Fun fact #1, AARP is no longer about retired people. The “RP” stands for Real Possibilities and the mission is “to empower people to choose how they live as they age”. This is awesome.
- A livable community is safe and secure, contains housing that’s affordable and appropropriate, features transportation options, access to needed services, and opportunities for residents to engage and participate in community life. The AARP Livable Communities initiative supports the efforts of neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties and entire states to become more livable and age-friendly for people of all ages. (https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/about/info-2014/what-we-do.html)
- Placemaking! Such an odd, nebulous, broad-sweeping term! It is one of the buzzwords of Livable Communities and it has a wonderful sense of purpose: Livable communities have a sense of place. They are places to live, work and relax. They are destinations, not sprawl. They are places to be in, not bypass. Land use and growth are planned and smart.
- SeniorScapes was invited to present because of our work in the placemaking space.
- The presentation went really well. In fact, it highlighted a large gap in the placemaking space, which was a tremendous opportunity to share the mission of vision of SeniorScapes.
- Although AARP’s Livable Communities is trying to make communities more age-friendly, I didn’t hear much chatter around making communities more accessible and “livable” for seniors with disabilities, which of course, means they are not accessible and livable for the spouses and caregivers of those seniors either.
- In planning for the booming aging population, and the rise of chronic disease and dementia, there has GOT to be more focus on the older adult with impairment, because…
- NEARLY HALF of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease. MORE THAN HALF of all older adults have THREE OR MORE chronic conditions. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5876976/)
- So in planning communities that are more livable for everyone, it is important to remember that EVERYONE IS AGING. And with aging, comes increased chronic disease.
- With aging and chronic disease also comes an increased risk of dementia, and again, dementia also impacts the spouses and caregivers of those people.
- SeniorScapes, Inc is building accessible, senior-centric, dementia friendly public spaces for older adults with and without impairment.
- It was such an honor to be a part of the workshop and see all the wonderful things that AARP’s Livable Communities initiatives are doing.
- It was also very exciting to see that the mission of SeniorScapes is indeed appropriate, timely, and needed. Onward.
PS: SeniorScapes, Inc is a 510C3 and your donation is tax deductible. Please support our mission here.