5111.0 Healthy Communities: Successes from the Healthy Aging Research Network

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 10:30 AM
Rebecca Hunter, PhD will discuss the significant challenges small towns and rural areas face in building healthy communities for active aging. Rural communities typically have fewer transportation resources, relatively greater distances to traverse, aging or minimal pedestrian infrastructure, and in some instances, environmental hazards from agricultural or industrial applications. A conceptual approach to building healthy communities for active aging in non-metropolitan areas will be discussed. Lessons learned will be shared from the work of the Healthy Aging Research Network, the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, the UNC Center for Aging and Health and others. Strategies for environmental and policy change will be presented. Thomas Prohaska, PhD will address the diversity of the built and natural environment in urban settings associated with health and well being among diverse older populations. Direct and indirect effects of the urban environment are presented in terms of its association with movement in the environment (walking) and distances to health promoting environments (grocery stores, parks) for ethnically diverse groups of older adults. Findings are presented on older community residents in the Cook County area on ethnic differences in access and exposure to environmental protective and risk factors regarding healthy lifestyles. Discussion will focus on ethnic differences in terms of environmental capital and the potential for reducing environmental health disparities through development and promoting healthy environments in non-traditional settings within the urban environment. William Satariano, PhD, will present on the perceptions of neighborhood safety and its importance for promoting active aging. A collaborative study of people ages 65+ in four geographic locations (Alameda County, CA; Cook County, IL; Allegheny County, PA; and Wake and Durham counties, NC) in the U.S. The study examined to what extent older residents' perceptions of neighborhood safety are associated with their perceptions of other characteristics of their neighborhoods, e.g., level of household density, and how those perceptual associations vary by geographic location, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Discussion will focus on the implications of this research for the design of healthy communities for active aging. Terrie Fox Wetle, PhD (Brown University), will serve as the discussant.
Session Objectives: Explain a conceptual framework for assessment and planning for active aging in nonmetropolitan communities and formulate environmental and policy change strategies to foster active aging. Identify at least five protective and risk related factors associated with active aging in urban environments. Identify individual and environmental correlates of perceptions of neighborhood safety in a well-characterized older population. Describe the implications of this research for the design of healthy communities for active aging.

10:30 AM
Overcoming challenges to active aging in rural and small town America
Rebecca H. Hunter, MEd, Joseph R. Sharkey, PhD MPH RD, Lucinda L. Bryant, PhD, William W. Hunter, MCE, Sarah Lowman, MPH and Michele Skeele
10:50 AM
Diversity in the Urban Environment; Direct and Indirect Effects on Active Aging
Thomas Prohaska, PhD, William Satariano, PhD, Amy Eisenstein, MS and Melissa Kealey, MPH
11:10 AM
Neighborhood safety and active aging
William Satariano, PhD, Susan L. Ivey, MD, MHSA, Melissa Kealey, MPH, Elaine Kurtovich, MPH, Constance Bayles, PhD, Rebecca H. Hunter, MEd and Thomas Prohaska, PhD

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Healthy Communities for Healthy Aging Forum
Endorsed by: Community Health Planning and Policy Development, Environment, Gerontological Health, Social Work

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)