Older population in Delaware and elsewhere more likely to stay put and not move later in life

    More and more older Americans are deciding to stay at home for as long as possible, rather than move after retiring, and communities need to make adjustments to respond to that trend.

    More and more older Americans are deciding to stay at home for as long as possible, rather than move after retiring, and communities need to make adjustments to respond to that trend.

    That was the message delivered to the 2010 American Planning Association conference in Dover by AARP’s Elinor Ginzler.  She says the 78 million baby boomers in America like where they are living and want to stay there.  “There is a national urban myth that everybody packs up their house and moves.  In fact, what we found from research at the national level and in Delaware specifically, people like there homes and want to stay there for as long as possible.”  An AARP survey of Delawareans over 35 found that 90% liked where they are living and want to stay.

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    To accommodate those older residents who are staying put, Ginzler says communities need to create what AARP calls a “livable community.”  She says, “A livable community is one that keeps people engaged, so it’s that combination of housing, mobility, services, and opportunities for engagement.”

    She says transportation needs of older residents also need to be considered.  “We need to recognize that roads are not necessarily designed to be good for everyone, and we need to look at the design of those roads.”  She says Delaware is already taking steps to address this issue with an executive order signed last year by Governor Jack Markell that calls for DelDOT to develop standards under the Complete Streets policy.

    WHYY chronicles the stories of many seniors in our Wider Horizons: “Coming of Age” series.

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