Aging in Place: A Toolkit for Local Governments is a guide created by the Atlanta Regional Commission to help local governments plan and prepare for their aging populations. The guide explains the importance of coordinating housing development regulations and healthcare supports so older adults can stay in their homes, and it also investigates quality growth practices and transportation services that allow older adults to get out and participate in the community.
The guide focuses on three issues that are critical to creating communities with successful aging in place:
- HEALTHCARE: Integration of healthcare delivery with housing and planning initiatives
- ENVIRONMENT: Housing and urban design
- PLANNING AND ZONING: Housing stock and location
The toolkit also identifies five key components that need to be included in a community’s approach to aging in place; choice, flexibility, entrepreneurship, mixed generations, and smart growth. The guide provides strategies and examples of how each of these five components can been applied to the areas of healthcare, environment, and planning/zoning. The guide provides suggestions like wellness programs, prevention oriented programs, and a continuum of affordable care. One real-life example that is examined is the SOURCE Demonstration Project, a program in Georgia that offers a variety of long-term health services for older adults who might otherwise find themselves in need of nursing home care.
Finally, the toolkit explores the challenge of coordinating these various goals, and explores how meeting the need for affordable housing, appropriate and safe housing, diverse housing choices, transportation options and supportive services can provide a good starting point for preparing a community for an aging population.