Friday, May 27, 2011

Creating a Senior-Friendly Community

Older adults (65+) currently represent 13% of Forsyth County’s population and are projected to represent 17% by 2030. The County must assess and address the needs of its increasing senior citizen population. The goal of Forsyth County Aging Services Planning Committee created in 1990 is to create a senior-friendly community in Forsyth County. Creating a senior-friendly society involves putting in place the facilities and infrastructure to support healthy and active aging. The 2010 report Thinking For the Future: Forsyth County’s Older Adults identified financial, health, transportation, safety, education and recreation issues of concern that need to be addressed. These include:
  • Maintaining the 65+ population in their homes when possible (80% own their home)
  • Making structural improvements necessary for ease of access
  • Maintaining the healthy outcomes currently experienced by older adults in the county
  • Ensuring that pharmacies and medical care facilities are distributed throughout the county
  • Expanding and improving transportation routes especially to rural areas
  • Ensuring a system is in place to address non-drivers
  • The limited use of recreation centers which may be a function of location
To address these issues and to provide for the projected increase in senior citizens, plan recommendations can consider ways to create new age-friendly communities. Strategies can include providing access to services, recreation and shopping, and age-friendly design encouraging safe walking and biking. Existing neighborhoods, where possible, should be made more age-friendly through retrofitting.

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