Accessibility for aging citizens- what cities need to do

Handicapped parking space

Older persons come across challenges (increasing) due to the changes they go through due to their age like sensory changes. In a city that is supposed to be age-friendly services, community policies and structures associated with the environment (physical and social) are specifically made to sustain and enable the older persons to age in an active manner.

This includes living in a secure place, good health and ensure full participation in society. Service providers who are age-friendly, public officials, faith leaders, business people and community leaders do the following:

  • Identify the diversity (great) amongst older people
  • Support presence and influence in all community life areas
  • Respect the decisions older persons make and their choices of lifestyle
  • Respond and react flexibly to needs that are related to the ageing community needs and likings

Characteristics of an age-friendly city

The cornerstone of a successful age-friendly city is access to everything and anything that interest older persons

Increasing accessibility and efficacy may also mean an environment that is healthier and also greener by decreasing carbon footprint, developments that are transit-oriented which integrates accessibility and efficacy to building projects (new). The theory of developments that are transit-oriented is very easy: position new, residential (high-density) and multi-purpose developments near hubs (transit) to the advantage of pedestrians and other persons who do not own cars like people who use public transport.

Equitable access to neighborhoods that are healthy and coming up with recreational resources and fresh foods sourced locally within a short time and can reach about 75 % of residents.  Accessible food which is basically the heart of all concerns of accessibility for the aged. Insecurity about food affects everyone, whether poor or rich or people who have issues accessing the city or have issues with their health.

Besides the coming “handicapped” parking, it’s also critical that both public transportation and private transportation be accessible.  Furthermore, opportunities  like civic, educational, cultural and voluntary engagements;  Locations and programs for leisure (active) and making friends, interior and exterior spaces that do not have any barriers for older persons, and senior citizens should have ample access to mobility assistance products (i.e. Uplifting Mobility).

Additional Issues

Additional issues that should be addressed by both the government and society include:

  • Programs and details that boost health spiritual and social well-being
  • Outreach and promotion socially
  • Health services that are easily accessible and appropriate
  • Services that help with chores in the household and maintenance in the house
  • Offers support to caregivers
  • Professional services and stores that are easily accessible
  • Neighborhoods that are supportive
  • Safe from victimization (criminal) and abuse
  • Information for the public and training that is appropriate
  • Plans for emergency and disaster recovery
  • Employment opportunities that are accessible and appropriate for the older persons

Basically, for a city to be age-friendly, it needs to meet the need required by the older persons like good health and access to basic needs.  It’s something that we’d all want for our parents and grandparents, so we should want it for our neighbors as well.