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.

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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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