Social Mobility for Seniors

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Erin Mitchell, Associate State Director, American Association of Retired
Persons (AARP)

Designing Homes, Communities and Transit for an Aging Population: AARP will
highlight recent successes in New York communities that help people age in place. Aging in place is the ability to stay in your home and community as long as possible and avoid costly institutions. The three main design features are Complete Streets, Universal Design and Transit Efficient Development. Town, county, state and federal government all have a role to play in helping to shape the future landscape of New York; whether it is our roadways, transit, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, homes with no step entries, and wider doorways. Come hear about how AARP is partnering all over New York and the country to make sure these transformations occur.

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  • Boomers do not want to live as they asge with relatives, in a nursing home, or at an assisted care facility. They want to live at home. The year 2011 is just about one year away and will mark the symbolic beginning of a “changing face” of aging in America. It is when the first wave of the 76 million strong post World War II “baby boom generation” begins turning 65. Generation born between 1496-1964.
  • Too late, many people discover they are trapped in towns with poor public transportation. Even walking if there are no sidewalks can become a problem. A new study from Transportation for America, “ Dangerous by Design”, says that Older Americans are two-thirds likely to be killed while walking than those under 65. New York has the 3 rd Highest Average Annual Fatalities per 100,000 people age 65 and older- after Hawaii and California.
  • Public transportation should be so prevalent and accessible and abundant in the community that people of all ages use it throughout their lives. Mobility is essential to independent living. It gives people the feeling that they have control over their lives. A truly livable community must provide as much mobility to older persons as possible, and it must offer real options that meet individual needs.
  • What is a Livable Community?
  • Right now AARP is engaged in a national dialogue about how to plan for successful aging. We’re talking to city planners and community developers. We’re talking to home builders and legislators, decision makers and service providers. We are encouraging people to transform their present communities into livable communities by getting engaged, involved and active in community efforts.
  • Here in New York, AARP is not only working at the national level but we are also working at the state and local level as well. We have held local stakeholder meetings in Long Island, Westchester, Rockland and the Capital District. We have completed Walkability audits with volunteers and decision makers to survey neighborhoods to gauge how walkable and safe they are from the stroller to the wheelchair in Westchester, Rockland and Buffalo. AARP is a member of the National Complete Streets Coalition and at the state level have introdusced complete streets legislation in the NYS Assembly and Senate.
  • There are three basic elements of “Livability” – housing, transportation and mobility. Transportation policy remains focused on policy that accommodate the automobile. And once again that policy is a response to social behavior. But if we don’t start expanding our transportation vision to include buses, rail, walkability, bicycles what is going to happen when millions of baby boomers outliving their ability to drive by a decade or more? A new AARP Public Policy Institute Report, “ Preserving Affordability and Access in Livable Communities survey takes a look at Transit Oriented Development.
  • Affordable housing must be well served by quality transportation and within walking distances from amenities and services. Benefits can also be compromised when some of the above conditions are not met. For example, the mobility of lower income older persons in Miami was compromised because of a lack of reliable and accessible bus service. A fear of nearby crime and among residents in several locations diminished their willingness to leave their building’s grounds. In areas far from transit, areas with few community features and services nearby, and areas with poor transit service, losing mobility can mean losing independence.
  • Residents of affordable housing in compact neighborhoods benefited from dense urban development near amenities and were able to walk or take transit to the places they needed to go.
  • Social Mobility for Seniors

    1. 1. Social Mobility for Seniors
    2. 2. Did You Know? <ul><li>By the year 2050, there will be 2 billion older persons in the world compared with 600 million today. For the first time in world history, older people will out number children. </li></ul><ul><li>90 percent of AARP members say that want to remain in their homes. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Significant Barriers to “ Aging in Place” <ul><li>Often people don’t think about the barriers to aging at home until they are suddenly confronted with too many steps, hard-to-handle doorknobs, or slippery bathroom floors. </li></ul><ul><li>Medical centers, grocery stores and pharmacies can become too hard to reach without the help of a neighbor or friend. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Significant Barriers to “Aging in Place” <ul><li>According to AARP’s Beyond 50 livable communities report, 60 percent of seniors reported that there was no public transportation within a 10 minute walk from their homes. </li></ul><ul><li>Suburbs and rural areas are especially underserved . </li></ul>
    5. 5. Livable Communities: The Vision <ul><li>Livable Communities are places where people of all ages and abilities have housing and mobility options that keep them safe and comfortable in their homes and get them where they need to go. </li></ul><ul><li>Community features such as nearby medical facilities and places to shop also support the needs of the residents. Livable Communities are places where people can live lives of purpose on their own terms and where they choose. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Livable Communities: The Goal <ul><li>AARP’s work is focused on helping people age successfully. “Successfully” means thriving, staying connected with family and friends, and living with independence, choice, and control. </li></ul><ul><li>To accomplish that goal AARP advocates for policies, programs and services to ensure that Americans 50+ can sustain mobility as they age, and that they have a range of accessible and affordable housing options. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Livable Communities: The Approach <ul><li>AARP forms strategic partnerships with national, state and local organizations; pursue advocacy; delivering information; and driving innovation in the market place. </li></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>Local Stakeholders Meetings - Statewide stakeholders meeting on December 1, 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Walkability Audits </li></ul><ul><li>Complete Streets Legislation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>State Legislation introduced (S.5711/A.8587) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal Legislation – AARP is a part of the national complete streets coalition </li></ul></ul>Livable Communities: The Approach
    9. 9. Livable Communities: Transit Oriented Development <ul><li>Housing near transportation provides many opportunities for older adults and supports the creation of livable, sustainable communities. </li></ul><ul><li>For low-income residents, the preservation of subsidized housing near transportation can help to ensure that persons of all incomes can realize the potential benefits of transit-oriented development. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Livable Communities: Transit Oriented Development <ul><li>Preserving affordable housing in transit-oriented developments (TODs) is one of the challenges that communities can address to increase livability. </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>Three areas that public policy must address: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Preserve existing affordable housing. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Integrate housing, transportation, and land use planning more effectively. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Improve and invest in public transportation. </li></ul>Livable Communities: Transit Oriented Development
    12. 12. <ul><li>Preserve existing affordable housing </li></ul><ul><li>Given the shortage of affordable housing, federal, state and local governments must preserve the subsidized housing that currently exists, particularly in areas near transit. </li></ul>Livable Communities: Transit Oriented Development
    13. 13. <ul><li>Integrate housing, transportation, and land use planning more effectively. </li></ul><ul><li>Housing policy and implementation traditionally are developed independent of land use and transportation planning. </li></ul><ul><li>Disconnected silos are inefficient, and expensive. They prevent maximizing the potential benefit of harmonized and integrated housing, transit and land use planning, both for communities and individuals. </li></ul>Livable Communities: Transit Oriented Development
    14. 14. <ul><li>Improve and invest in public transportation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For an individual user, public transportation must be accessible and accommodate one’s physical impairments and limitations, go where one needs to, and be reliable. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In areas where transit does not meet these criteria, non-drivers may be isolated and have a diminished quality of life compared with those who have more options. </li></ul></ul>Livable Communities: Transit Oriented Development
    15. 15. <ul><li>Investing in affordable housing near transit is important, not only because it is one way to create more livable communities, but also supports other national policy goals. </li></ul><ul><li>When planned and implemented in ways that complement the recommendations these policies can create communities that are both affordable to a wide range of residents and environmentally responsible. </li></ul>Livable Communities: Transit Oriented Development
    16. 16. Livable Communities: Transit Oriented Development <ul><li>Questions and Comments </li></ul>

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