Reposted from The Boston Globe
Let’s measure what’s going on in cities and towns so we can identify how a community’s aging circumstances change over time.
Our work has shown how much the circumstances of older people in different communities can vary. A single, inflexible idea will rarely meet a need or solve a problem everywhere. Widely available technology can help older adults continue to live independently, whether it makes our homes more manageable, monitor our health, or allow us to remain connected to family, work, or volunteer opportunities. But most of the things older adults need or want in order to live a better life — services, mobility, jobs — depend on local solutions.
For example, one common issue for older adults is the need for better transportation options. But the kind of innovation that would make a difference in larger cities — such as greater access to bikes and safe bike paths — won’t work as well in rural areas. Solutions need to take into account local demographics, infrastructure, and economics. The Healthy Aging Data Reports reveal the disparities from one community to the next and can guide our actions and investments.
We need to invest in educational programs that will build the workforce for the Longevity Hub and help a younger generation imagine the future of aging.
Finally, we need to stoke political energy to generate and sustain the movement to create a more age-friendly society. We can cultivate the kind of technological and practical innovation that will serve a growing older population that we’ll all be part of someday — if we’re lucky. Let’s do the work now so that in 50 years we can look back and see another revolution we led and prospered from. As the Longevity Hub, Massachusetts can be a model for the rest of the nation and the world.