A Key to Successful Aging: Livable Communities

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP® Sandy Adams

A topic that comes up often in conversations with clients while discussing plans for their futures as they age usually centers around, "where will we live?" It should not be a surprise that most folks are inclined to want stay in their own homes for as long as possible (or so they think). It may actually be the community, more so than the home, in many cases, that clients are really tied to. The community is where our social contacts are, where health care and other supports are, and often times where our friends and family are. So determining how livable one’s community is for the long haul is important. That is why when I came across the new Livability Index Tool developed by AARP's Public Policy Institute, I stood up and took notice.

The Livability Index (found at www.livabilityindex.aarp.org) scores neighborhoods and communities across the U.S. for the services that impact seniors' lives the most. It looks at housing, transportation, the environment, health, social engagement, and opportunity, all of which are determined by the Public Policy Institute's research and the opinion surveys of 4,500 Americans age 50+. A positive Livability Index means access to a variety of housing, with close proximity to jobs, and access to activities and services to keep seniors engaged and healthy.

So, when the topic of "Where will we live?" comes up, whether the client is looking to stay in their own home, move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community, Independent Retirement Community, or other Assisted Living Community, we may suggest looking up the location in the Livability Index to see how the community in which the housing is located ranks. In addition, of course, to determining how the community fits into the clients plan from a financial and long term care perspective. When discussing with your financial planner where you will live as you age, in addition to the financial aspect, make sure you discuss the livability piece. Making sure you live in a community that provides you substantial support with access to essentials and amenities can keep you socially active and engaged, which is the key to successful aging!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Sandy Adams and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Livability Index and/or AARP. Please include: Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members.