Will your community become age friendly?

6 Apr 2017 12:35 PM
Will your community become age friendly?

Ageing populations may change the face of communities

Australia’s ageing population will put more pressure on housing and communities to become age-friendly. This would mean a need for better lighting in streets, less traffic, more open spaces and more structured layout of streets.

Many shopping centres are already age-friendly. They are easy to enter and park, have wheelchair access and lots of seating. But many are still very busy and have narrow access ways. Also, directional signage is not very obvious amongst the blaring neon shop signs. Signage to exits, to toilets or to find different shops, is often on a screen which a non-technical 70 year old may have trouble with. Like mothers rooms, there is a need for a “senior” room in shopping centres to take time out from the crowds and have complimentary tea, coffee and a biscuit with soothing music.

People living with dementia, even early stage, can be confused by too much noise and bright lighting. Even someone very familiar with their local environment can be rattled when the summer holiday crowds flood in.

Age-friendly environments will also mean appropriate transport options, security in the neighbourhood and access to services and recreation for the older person. An example is a community centre that has classes in tai chi, U3A classes and a neighbourhood garden for anybody to tend.

These kind of age-friendly communities will become more important in the future. They are already happening in rural areas where younger people have moved away for employment or education. In Tasmania's North West region six out of nine council areas have more people over the age of 65 than under 5 years. Two local schools have been shut down and turned into independent living developments due to changing population demographics*.

(*Source theadvocate.com.au)