Sustainable Aging in Place: Features to Make it a Reality in Your Community

Seniors and their family caregivers in growing numbers are finding the right solutions to make aging in place a reality.

More seniors are becoming healthier to face their aging head on. They’re managing to put realistic financial plans in place to allow them to maintain their lifestyle while paying for ever-rising healthcare costs. Many of them are early adopters to the latest technology and telehealth solutions that can keep them safely in the homes of their choice for longer periods of time.

Family caregivers are making great strides in meeting the needs of their aging loved ones. Some solutions, however, are not within their control. It is up to the community, city planners, governments and larger systems to catch up with the needs of the seniors in their locales.

Sustainable Aging in Place

According to a recent report prepared by MetLife Mature Market Institute, there are specific characteristics that a community will need to have in order for the seniors living there and successfully age in place.

  • Available accessible and affordable homes for seniors to live as they age, including homes in all price ranges, accessibility for disabled people and all types of living arrangements, such as personal homes, apartments, senior housing, assisted living and accessory dwelling units. It is also important to include the presence of home remodeling services and Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS). Also, zoning for multi-family dwellings, more than one single family home per lot and mixed use neighborhoods should be flexible.
  • Contains specific features that allow access to the community at large, such as walkable neighborhoods with sidewalks, safe driving options such as easy-to-view signage and improved lighting, and neighborhoods that are safe for seniors to move about without fear. There should also be transportation that includes the five A’s – availability, accessibility, acceptability, affordability and adaptability to diverse needs is a priority.
  • Wide variety of services, such as healthcare, retail centers, food shopping and support services, in addition to community life including senior centers, peer events, libraries, beauty salons, banks, pharmacies, places of worship and clubs.
  • In-home services should be accessible through transportation or capable of being brought into the home, such as home health care, meals on wheels, support groups and respite care.
  • Emergency preparedness plans that take the needs of aging adults into account, such as identifying where seniors who need assistance are located, early warning methods, and help with supplying their needs during a disaster such as medications and documentation.
  • Volunteer opportunities that allow seniors to remain physically, mentally and socially active

Aging in Place Solutions Benefit Entire Community

Seniors aren’t the only ones who benefit when the community provides a sustainable aging in place environment, as there are dividends for the community as a whole.

  • Economic development for services and goods provided to aging population, including housing and healthcare
  • Fostering environmental health, not only that of the aging population but general population as well
  • Improved infrastructure of communities, such as walkable neighborhoods and transportation, provide opportunities for the entire community
  • Local governments that remove barriers to provide aging in place options improve business opportunities for all citizens
  • Obtaining a wealth of expertise and service from the seniors in volunteer opportunities lets the community share in and benefit from their experience

According to the MetLife report “a livable community is one in which residents of all ages are able to maintain independence and enjoy a high quality of life”.  A community that can allow for successful aging in place for all our seniors will also improve the community as a whole for all citizens.

As we advocate for our senior loved ones and help them age in place successfully more safely and longer, we will be helping to improve our communities and our own aging future.

4 thoughts on “Sustainable Aging in Place: Features to Make it a Reality in Your Community”

  1. I couldn’t agree more on the aging in place for seniors. Being a senior myself it’s important to maintain my roots as long as I am able.

    A lot of people put their parents into nursing homes or assisted living centers when it may not be necessary. Granted if they can’t afford to help their aged loved ones it may be the only feasible thing to do, however, I firmly believe that seniors have a say in their lifestyle.

    When the elderly have the option to “Age in Place” it is much healthier for them. They tend to learn how to cut back so that they can maintain their healthy lifestyle.

    When you take that away from a person, especially the elderly, you also take away their self esteem and their lively-hood.

    That’s why I created our company Rosa Medical Supply an online internet store specializing in home care medical products for the disabled and the elderly.

  2. Hi Kathy,

    I wanted to make sure you are familiar with Memo, a memory assistant that displays just-in-time information for people with mild to moderate dementia. Family caregivers can post messages, reminders, calendar events, to-do items, and audio alerts remotely – from home, work, travel, distant cities, or wherever they have Internet access. Instead of running over to Mom’s house to post sticky notes, they do it from their computer, using our caregiver website.

    Our customers, both elders and caregivers, love it. It saves them time, stress, frustration, embarrassment, confusion, and money. Memo won’t help everybody, but when memory impairment is a problem, Memo is a great resource.

    The elder needs a ten-inch tablet for the display (Apple or Android, new or used). She doesn’t have to know a thing about computers to use it – if she can watch TV, she can use Memo.

    The download is free. A subscription to our website that makes it work is $29/month – a great bargain compared with home health aides or multiple trips across town.

    We don’t expect you to promote a commercial product, but someone in your influential position should be aware of this as a potential tool for families dealing with memory impairment. Please call or email if you have questions, or check out our website:

    Thanks – and thanks for the work you are doing for caregivers!


  3. anyone thinking of doing a video conference or lecture for the elderly, give them a 2 hour training session based on a survey of what devices they need help on. I try to do one of these training sessions once a month, and if asked, I would be happy to volunteer my time and services to help the elderly. contact me at elder care america @ if you are interested in my help 🙂

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