Health and Urban Design 2

“Our first challenge is to imagine what a healthy environment looks like, not how to create access to healthcare services.  Access doesn’t deliver health to a population.” 

Center for Healthy Aging.  http://www.healthyagingprograms.org/  Nancy Whitelaw.
Health and Urban Design 2
“Our first challenge is to imagine what a healthy environment looks like, not how to create access to healthcare services. Access doesn’t deliver health to a population.” 
So says Nancy Whitlaw of the Center for Healthy Living speaking at the Lifelong Communities charrette in Atlanta.  
Researchers continue demonstrate that older people who are physically active live longer and have lower health care costs.   People only think of themselves as old when their health starts to decline or they have limited function. Segregation of older people may facilitate caregiving but it cuts individuals off from the diversity of a dynamic community and may exacerbate already high incidences of depression among older adults.
So what does it take to keep people active and connected throughout their lives?  What kind of an environment will do this?  
“What we need to be thinking about is how to create a society and environment that can accommodate people with varying degrees of physical function,” says Whitlaw. “Everything that the older folk need may not be as necessary for younger people, but younger people would be better served in communities that serve older people well.
Instead of pondering when old age starts we should be thinking about the “where.”   While funding for health care is important, we need support for people can exercise their right to grow old independently in safe environment.

So says Nancy Whitlaw of the Center for Healthy Living, speaking at the Lifelong Communities charrette in Atlanta.  

Researchers continue demonstrate that older people who are physically active live longer and have lower health care costs.   People only think of themselves as old when their health starts to decline or their function becomes limited, such as when they no longer drive. Segregation of older people may facilitate caregiving but it cuts individuals off from the diversity of a dynamic community and may exacerbate already high incidences of depression among older adults.

So what does it take to keep people active and connected throughout their lives?  What kind of an environment will do this?  

“What we need to be thinking about is how to create a society and environment that can accommodate people with varying degrees of physical function,” says Whitlaw. “Everything that the older folk need may not be as necessary for younger people, but younger people would be better served in communities that serve older people well.”

Instead of pondering when old age starts, we should be thinking a lot more about the “where,”  whether in making personal choices or setting public policy.  While funding health care is the issue of the day, let’s not forget support for people to exercise their right to grow old independently in safe environment.

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