Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Communities, Transportation, and Seniors

Canada is experiencing a rise in the amount of elderly persons. In 1990’s that group represented about 12% of the population, by 2020 they will represent around 20% of the population.

Given the choice, most people would choose to retire in the place they call home (not a old-age home.) In ordered to that though, several things must be in place.

First, the community must be comfortable to live in. That means that communities should feel safe and provide opportunity for seniors to take an active part in civic life. Community must also be accessible. Things like medical clinics, shops, and entertainment must be in walking distance of where the elderly live. This, or course, lends itself to mixed used areas (shops and apartments in the same building, apartments, and detached homes.) Of course this kind of development is not just good for seniors, but for the whole population. Safe, complete communities are easy to serve with quality transit, and provide people with transportation choice. One naturally occurring seniors area that comes to my mind is downtown Langley.

SmartGrowth America has a report about Aging in Place, and Health Canada has information about our aging population.

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