I just finished 'Disrupt Aging', a book by Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, with co-author, Boe Workman. It's very current (2016) and practical, also easy to pick up and ready any chapter solo.
The first tidbit I learned is that retirement is really a new phenomenon. Back in the day we went straight from childhood to working adult - then along came 'adolescence' in the 1900's. Then we went from working to end of life, there was no in between. Now 'retirement' has come along within the last 60 years. Jenkins talks about redefining our life course and viewing retirement as a process, not something that abruptly happens in one day. The energy potential of the retirement population is a phenomenal asset to society that we're still learning how to harness. (ie volunteering, part-time work). Key term: retire and rehire! Take away here is to think of retirement as a process, not as a singular event.
Moving on to our favorite part....Living Arrangements! Jenkins offered a fresh, modern perspective around living options. First, good communities aren't retirement age specific. A true 'good' living arrangement will just as much benefit a young mother in her 20's pushing a stroller, as it will a retired man using a walker - sidewalks, crossing guards, ramps, good marking and lighting. Public transportation benefits kids taking the bus to school just as much as it benefits someone getting to a doctor appointment. We all benefit from 'well developed' (not specifically retirement) communities. Here's a cool and fun tool AARP has developed to rate the livability of communities - AARP Livability Index: http://livabilityindex.aarp.org/. Try it, it's fun, most zip codes I entered scored in the mid 40's. Communities are scored in seven categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity.
If you're still with me, the key point we've honed in on and polished here at LilyToday is Livable Communities. As we go through life (age), our needs and wants change, but our environments don't always adapt. Our dream home 50 years ago no longer has wide enough hallways, has too many stairs and doorknobs we can't twist. Luckily, today there is an explosion of living communities tailored to being more 'livable'. We now utilize 'supportive solutions' (key term!) to achieve livability. Technological innovations, co-housing and generational mixing are all ideas Jenkins flushes out to show us how to achieve our best living at any stage in the game.
How am I doing? Too long, too short, way too boring? I'd like to keep going and highlight example communities, supportive solutions and financing, but I figured I'd end (hopefully) with you still on the hook, yes? We want to hear from you, the good, the bad, and everything inbetween.