State Commission on Aging Rolls Out “Livable Communities” Initiative

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The state Commission on Aging has launched a new initiative that aims to help older adults age in place.

“The rapidly growing aging population in Connecticut is going to dramatically change the landscape in terms of where and how people live, get around and connect with their community,” said Julia Evans Starr, executive director of the commission.

In an effort to guide policy makers, municipal officials and community leaders, the commission has created a website that highlights affordable, housing options, supportive community features and services and other elements of a “livable community.”  The website offers up examples of Connecticut communities that have successfully implemented “livability” programs, such as Enfield’s initiative to define standards for accessory apartments and an effort in Darien to help seniors live independently by offering door-to-door transportation and other services.

The population of those 65 and older in Connecticut is projected to grow dramatically in the coming years, largely due to aging baby boomers, who make up about a third of the state’s population.

The legislature passed several bills this year that aim to help older adults and people with disabilities remain in their homes through grants that fund home modifications. The legislation, which awaits Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s signature, also provides broader access to Medicaid home and community-based services.

“Livable” features — such as walkable neighborhoods that are situated near commercial centers, vibrant public spaces and public transit — aren’t just appealing to older adults. Communities that embrace such features are generally popular with people across the demographic spectrum.

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