Online Program

Livable community indicators for aging in place

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Amanda J. Lehning, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Berkeley, CA
Annie Harmon, MS, PhD Candidate, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Aging in place is the ability to remain in one's own home or community in spite of potential changes in health and functioning in later life. The concept of livable communities calls attention to the ways the physical, social, and economic infrastructure of cities and towns can promote or hinder older residents' ability to age in place. Aging in place has the potential to benefit not only older adults, but also their families, their communities, and their governments. Based on an extensive review of the literature and interviews with aging in place experts, we developed an initial list of indicators that can be measured using information that is readily available and adaptable to local governments, providing a low-cost way for local governments to begin to examine the specific needs of their aging population. We identified indicators for aging in place within the areas of community engagement, housing, neighborhood infrastructure, safety, social resources, and transportation. Given the heterogeneity of resources and environments in communities across America, indicators must be practical and adaptable enough to provide local government officials and service providers with a tool to accurately evaluate the overall effect on residents' options for aging in place. Although there are limitations to data access and uniformity, general indicators can be adapted to communities' unique needs and resources. Future research will evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of this indicator system, and contribute to the growing yet still limited research on community-level effects on aging in place.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe community-level factors that facilitate or inhibit aging in place Identify creative uses for publically available data sources Discuss communication to help bridge silos between different fields and organizations Identify future direction for Aging in Place research and policies

Keyword(s): Aging, Community Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research focuses on policies, programs, and neighborhood environments that potentially influence the ability of older adults to age in place. I have co-authored numerous articles on this topic, and was the principal investigator on this current project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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