Meeting the Future Needs of Our Changing Region
The Atlanta region is experiencing an unprecedented demographic shift as Baby Boomers age and people live longer than ever before. By 2030, one out of every five residents will be over the age of 60.
ARC provides services and develops plans with the goal of enabling people to remain in their homes and communities rather than moving into costly institutional settings. People who stay in their communities generally experience a better quality of life, with improved physical and mental health.
Given that projections anticipate funding for services won’t keep pace with the growing population ARC constantly seeks new and innovative approaches to support older adults and people with disabilities across the region.
‘Live Beyond Expectations’ Strategic Plan
ARC’s Division of Aging and Health Resources has developed Live Beyond Expectations, a strategic plan that endeavors to align services to meet the community’s changing needs.
The plan was developed with input from about 1,200 people throughout the region, including caregivers, medical providers, nonprofit organizations and home-based care providers. Key priorities, goals and strategies include:
- Transportation – Increasing the number of older adults and persons with disabilities with access to transportation services.
- Housing – Providing a diversity of housing options that are desirable to an aging population.
- Caregiver Supports – Supporting family and other informal caregivers who provide the majority of care for frail older adults and persons with disabilities.
- Long-Term Services and Supports – Providing high quality, affordable services to enable people to stay in their homes and communities.
The vast majority of individuals want to remain in their homes and in their communities as they age. But too often, people move to more institutional settings to get the services and support they need – particularly if they no longer drive.
ARC’s Lifelong Communities initiative helps guide efforts at the local level to create places that meet the needs of residents of all ages and abilities. Specifically, a lifelong community:
- Provides housing and transportation options that are affordable, accessible, located close to services, and available within existing communities to ensure all ages and abilities can access services and remain independent.
- Encourages healthy lifestyles by designing safe and walkable communities that promote physical activity and social interaction and enable easy access to food and healthcare.
- Expands access to necessary services
VIDEO – AGE-FRIENDLY ATLANTA
Lifelong Communities Principles
- Connectivity – Providing the most options for getting from one place to another, reduces traffic and creates a viable street network for multiple modes of transportation
- Pedestrian Access and Transit – Creating a vibrant streetscape, destinations worth walking to, connected and safe sidewalks and transit, both within the community and to regional hubs
- Neighborhood Retail and Services – Permitted within walking distances of housing to reduce auto travel, increase walkability and provide for sustainable community hubs
- Social Interaction – Resulting from the provision of adequate green space, community centers, neighborhood gardens and more
- Diversity of Dwelling Types – Allowing individuals to remain within the community as their needs and preferences change
- Healthy Living – Growing out of an environment that promotes physical activity (trails and bike paths), neighborhood-scale groceries offering fresh fruits and vegetables and health clinics and medical offices within walking distance
- Consideration for Existing Residents – Providing options for existing residents to remain in the community as redevelopment occurs
VIDEO – SWEET AUBURN: LIVING BEYOND EXPECTATIONS
In June 2014, ARC, joined by community and tactical urbanism partners, created a temporary Lifelong Community on two-blocks of Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn Avenue. Over a three-day period, the “Sweet Auburn Living Beyond Expectations” project demonstrated many of the elements that help create a Lifelong Community.
The Lifelong Communities handbook guides local communities in development and community design that fosters these age-friendly communities.
For more information about Lifelong Communities, contact ARC at firstname.lastname@example.org