Age 65+: Rising Fast
Calgary is facing a huge boom in boomers – how are we preparing the housing market to keep them comfortable for as long as possible?
Our senior population is increasing at three times the growth rate compared to all other age groups. By 2036, the number of adults aged 65+ will surpass the number of children aged 14 and under in the Calgary Region for the first time in our history.
Seniors want to stay active and participate in their communities (more than 60% of them volunteer regularly). Most of them prefer to 'age in place'. That means they maintain the ability to live in their own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.
“A livable community is one that has affordable and appropriate housing, supportive community features and services, and adequate mobility options, which together facilitate personal independence and the engagement of residents in civic and social life.”
- A report to the Nation on Livable communities, AARP
In a 2012 study by AARP, 90% of respondents said they preferred to age in their own homes. And on self-reported assessment on aging measures, like optimism, quality of life and life satisfaction, those living in a home that meets their needs score better than those living in homes that do not meet their needs.
To make that possible, we want to ensure affordable housing options, more walkable communities with access to amenities and transit, and flexible home designs that allow for caregivers to reside with those in need. Sustainable Calgary lists five things that Calgary’s aging population needs:
- Better sidewalks and crosswalks
- More secure and better-lit streets
- Affordable services, living areas and gathering places
- Better alternatives to driving
- Living areas that are connected with surrounding communities
Calgary builders are paying attention and creating special communities to accommodate our aging population.
For example, new communities may include a multi-family development designed to attract both seniors and young families, providing more social interaction. Some design trends are appearing to help seniors stay at home longer, and more comfortably. In addition, students at the University of Calgary are exploring housing alternatives in an exciting project in collaboration with The Cumming School of Medicine, the faculty of nursing, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation and Homes by Avi.
We’re definitely on our way to creating housing choice throughout the lives of all Calgarians.