AARP Video Highlights Mixed-Use Community Designs Promoting Senior Independence

A new AARP video from the organization’s Active Living for All Ages: “Creating Neighborhoods Around Transit” campaign highlights the importance of developing mixed-use, accessible communities with public transit options that promote senior independence.

The video cites Arlington, Va., as being “nationally recognized” for its great neighborhoods that have a variety of living options within walking distance of convenient transportation and key locations such as doctors’ offices and grocery stores.

It’s important to have a development pattern that helps support public transportation, according to Arlington County Board of Supervisors Chris Zimmerman.

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The video describes transit-oriented communities as a way to enable older adults to maintain their independence without having to rely on automobile transportation to get to where they need to go, points out Jana Lynott, a senior strategic policy advisor for AARP Public Policy Institute. Instead, older adults, which is defined as those aged 75 and older, are able to hop on a bus or a train to reach their destinations.

Studies show that seniors in public transit-friendly locations took 20% more trips per week compared to those living in suburban neighborhoods. And about 22% of older adults living in mixed-use developments are able to walk around and reach destinations by foot, compared to 8% of those living in suburban areas. Both of these statistics point toward increased socialization—an important factor in older adults’ well-being.

Making public transportation stations accessible is also key, as older adults won’t want to use them if they’re not safe and well-maintained, says Rodney Harrell, PhD, a senior strategic policy advisor on Housing/Livable Communities at AARP Public Policy Institute.

And according to AARP’s vide, when planning for older adults, “you’re planning for the entire community.”

Watch the video here.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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