Are You Living in an Age-Friendly City?

July 18, 2011 · Print This Article

You don’t necessarily need to live in a large urban centre to be in a senior-friendly area. You do, however, need to have access to the following according to the World Health Organization in order to be in an area that can adequately meet your needs.

Public Transportation

While many Canadian seniors continue to drive well into retirement, there will come a time when you may no longer be able to drive. When that time comes, you will want to still be able to go about your day-to-day activities independently. The only way to do this is with accessible public transportation.

If you are in a suburban area, the bus may come infrequently and not at all on Sundays. Check out your local bus schedules to make sure that they match your expectations.

If your idea of public transportation is a taxi, make sure your local taxi service is open all days of the week in case you need to get somewhere.

Outdoor Spaces

One of the most important factors in maintaining health is physical activity. This means getting outdoors when the weather is nice, but seniors have a few more concerns than they may have had when they were younger. Sidewalks need to be paved and well-maintained to prevent falls, and pedestrians must be able to safely cross roads.

Good lighting is very important for evening strolls and deterring crime.

Buildings

Who doesn’t love a night out at the theatre or a concert? It may not be a senior-appropriate venue if it does not contain elevators to bypass stairs, or the activity isn’t restricted to one floor. Most public buildings have to be built to accessibility guidelines, so this generally isn’t something you have to worry about. Keep in mind that older heritage buildings may not be as senior-friendly as newer facilities.

Health Services

This is the most important factor for seniors to evaluate when they are looking for a place to live or trying to decide if they want to stay in their current communities. There must be adequate, around-the-clock access to health care. Many seniors prefer to stay in urban centres to ensure good access, but there are rural options available for health care that make locations that are more rural like cottage country attractive for seniors. Investigate all of your options before moving or selling the cottage.

Your home

If you need to run up and down two flights of stairs to do laundry, you may want to consider making some modifications to your home. Move your washer and dryer onto the first floor, or consider installing a stair lift to make getting around easier.

You’ll also want to make sure that any uneven surfaces that could trip you are flattened, and that your showers and baths are easy to get in and out of.

The World Health Organization has put out a Checklist for Age-friendly Cities that you can download.

Contact Horizon for more information on how we can help you get a loan to make necessary improvements to your home, or anything else that you may require to make your retirement enjoyable.