Philip B. Stafford – “Lifetime Communities”

Philip B. Stafford highlights the imbalanced priorities of spending and care for elders: while significant funds are spent on aging- related health costs, many countries, including the US,  rank inadequately in terms of aging support. This data supports the notion that this is “not a personal problem, but a community challenge!”

Aging is not about time and the body, asserts Stafford, but about relationships… and the meaning of place. Healthy aging requires housing within close proximity to social interaction, health services and stimulation. Public transit helps ensure access to varied population groups. Respect and social inclusion are facilitated by educational and cultural activities. Communication and information stimulates the mind. Social participation in community activities, civic participation, and employment keep one young.  

To promote health, longevity, and care for the aging community requires a new zoning and public policy approach to incentivize and influence community development and redevelopment initiatives that promote livability for all ages and abilities – what Stafford calls a “Lifetime Community District”. An example of this is currently being developed in Bloomington, IN.