Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
The external environment has a major impact on the mobility, independence and quality of life of older people as they go about their daily lives beyond the comfort of their homes. A clean city with well-maintained recreational areas, ample rest areas, well-developed and safe pedestrian and building infrastructure, and a secure environment provides an ideal living environment for seniors to age-in-place in.
A pleasant and clean environment with green spaces
Urban environments are not usually thought of as the most conducive place to grow old in, particularly in the face of increasing pollution levels. Cities facing high population growth and overcrowding are difficult places for elderly residents to navigate or feel a strong sense of belonging to. A city’s cleanliness, noise levels, odours, and green spaces also affect the age-friendliness of the city. When cities develop a clean and green environment and take age-friendly features into consideration for urban planning, cities can become great places for older residents to live out their golden years.
Age-friendly buildings, pavements and walkways, safe pedestrian crossings and adequate rest areas
Narrow, uneven, cracked and congested pavements are potential hazards for older people, compounded by the weather when it rains or snows. Cars parked on pavements and cyclists also pose safety risks as pedestrians are forced to walk on the roads. Pedestrian crossing lights that change too quickly are another danger for older pedestrians, who may rather not go out in extreme cases. A lack of rest areas makes it even more difficult for seniors to get around when they tire. Public facilities and shops located far away from where seniors live would deter seniors from using these facilities.
A secure environment
A community will not be cohesive and integrated if residents feel unsafe. This, in turns, discourages older people from going about their daily lives independently and affects social integration between generations. Making residents feel safe also involves putting adequate measures in place against natural disasters.