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Growing Older in an Age-Friendly Community

By Meghana Giridhar,
March 24

The annual Aging in America Conference began yesterday. This is the largest annual conference dedicated to the issues of aging in the United States run by American Society on Aging. This year’s conference which runs from March 23rd- 27th, 2015 is being held in Chicago, lllinois. The general session focuses on issues relevant to older adults, to better understand and prepare for the future. One of the topics tackled was about transforming communities for an aging society. In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Global Age-Friendly Cities Project that aims at helping seniors age in a healthy and active way. The program has participants from more than 20 countries. By 2050, the aging population will make up about 22% of the world that translates to 2 billion people. There will be more seniors than children under the age of 14. Since most of the aging will take place in cities, it is vital to adapt them to meet the needs of this significant group. Having supportive environments will help seniors stay independent and contribute longer. Age-friendly cities will strengthen social bonds and interaction between residents so they remain involved and don’t suffer from isolation. The Global Age-Friendly Cities Project entails modifying services, physical and social structures and policies to allow seniors to age safely and stay involved with their community. WHO announced eight community-related areas that need to be modified to become age-friendly: These include: •    Outdoor spaces and buildings •    Transportation •    Housing •    Social participation •    Respect and social inclusion •    Civic participation and employment •    Communication and information •    Community support and health services In the US, AARP has launched its Network of Age-Friendly Communities. In sync with WHO’s objectives, the network is making efforts to recognize resources among seniors and prepare to respond to aging-related needs. The Network helps participants become age-friendly by encouraging the adoption of features such as: •    Safe, well-lit, clean and walk able streets •    Affordable housing facilities with automatic door openers and elevators •    Accessible public transportation •    Plenty of safe outdoor spaces •    Health support services •    Opportunities for seniors to volunteer and apply for jobs •    Opportunities for seniors to participate in community activities Here is WHO’s comprehensive checklist of essential features of age-friendly cities. Additional guides and toolkits can be found here. An inclusive, diverse and harmonious age-friendly space where all generations can live and grow together is something that we can and should contribute to for a healthy, happy and independent future. References: Meghana Giridhar serves as Content Coordinator and is part of eCareDiary's founding team.  In her role, she oversees and edits content across all of eCareDiary's media platforms. If you found this article useful, please click the “Share This” icon below to make it available to your family and friends.

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Yoga to Manage Parkinson's Disease Symptoms

April 7

eCareDiary will speak to Renee Le Verrier of LIM Yoga who is a certified yoga instructor and author of "Yoga for Movement Disorders" about how it can help with Parkinson's symptoms and in rebuilding strength and flexibility.

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