The World Health Organization has compiled a self-assessment checklist for cities to gage their current accessibility to aging community members. Syracuse is known for rough winter weather and very rarely considered a great place to retire. What can be done to change this? How can we make Syracuse more desirable to aging adults?
The self-assessment is a tool to be used by community members and older individuals that reside in those areas. The assessment is extremely important to our current community. The checklist looks at all factors that affect aging adults including, housing, transportation, outdoor spaces, social inclusion, and health services, among others. This helps to evaluate your community and allows us to explore future options for change.
Active aging adults today are looking for activities to do outside of the home. They want to be social, and meet with friends. They want to exercise with classes and activities that are specific to their needs. They want to feel like they are a part of a community and not feel like they are a burden.
When assessing these areas, community members can see where specific areas are lacking. By bring awareness to those areas, and hopefully change, individuals may feel a greater amount of acceptance and feel that they are respected members of our community. When members of an area feel that they are valued and appreciated, they will have a greater desire to stay.
In Syracuse we may not have the ability to change the weather, but we can make our city more accommodating. If we renovated some of our current public spaces and made them accessible to everyone, older adults would feel that they have a stronger connection to Syracuse. For a lot of older individuals transportation can be a huge problem. Having buses or taxi services that are strictly for the use of aging adults, would create opportunities for them to join in and be a bigger part of the community.
It is a very intricate web that we weave and if we can make older adults a larger piece of that web, we have a greater chance of making them life-long citizens to the greater Syracuse area.
Check out the World Health Organization checklist: http://www.who.int/ageing/publications/Age_friendly_cities_checklist.pdf
By Jency Holden