Wilmington, North Carolina. 15% of the county’s population is 65 or older, and that number is only going to grow as baby boomers continue to age. That’s why the city’s senior city planner Christine Hughes has developed a plan to turn the city into the perfect destination for aging in place. The plan consists of four main parts:
Not only do housing designs need to meet the accessibility needs of the elderly, houses must “remain affordable throughout a person’s lifetime” as the retired can’t always afford rent increases.
Good public transportation that is both safe and affordable is essential for remaining active after one has decided to stop driving.
3. Access to Services
Hughes wants to get important services such as doctors, pharmacies, and shops within residential neighborhoods.
4. Social Considerations
Remaining social is essential for keeping oneself mentally and physically healthy when aging. Destinations such as senior centers, parks, and libraries help encourage an active social life.
“Really, these are things that all of us want,” said Hughes. “The young and the old have the most challenges, due in large part to income and mobility limitations. But a city that is well-designed for a child or a senior is a city that is well-designed.”
This is a lot to do, but according to the director of the Area Agency on Aging, Jane Jones, “I don’t think it is insurmountable. We are just going to have to look at what the needs are and find ways to meet them.”