The 16th issue in the Planner’s Portfolio series explores the concept of Aging in Place, or helping people remain in their communities as they age.
Aging-in-Place is the idea that people should be able to remain in their existing homes or communities even as they age and their needs change. According to census data, the population of people 65 and older in Pennsylvania has grown at a much faster rate than the general population in the past 5 years, and is expected to keep growing. This means significant portions of the population will have changing needs and demands in the years ahead. There are issues that municipalities should be aware of and steps they can take to ensure that their older residents feel safe, welcome, and engaged.
This Planner’s Portfolio looks at issues related to aging-in-place and provides recommendations for creating “age-friendly” communities. It focuses on the topics of housing, mobility, public spaces and parks, and social opportunities and civic engagement.
For example, housing is particularly important to aging populations. Age-friendly communities offer a variety of affordable, safe, and accessible housing options. Zoning can facilitate aging-in-place by allowing for a variety of housing types from large managed care facilities to accessory dwelling units in rear yards. New construction can be encouraged to utilize the “Universal Design” concept, which encourages design usable by everyone, regardless of age or ability.