You already know about the benefits of walking — including better heart and mental health — for seniors. 

 

According to AARP, people who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks are 47 percent more likely than residents of areas without sidewalks to be active at least 39 minutes a day.  Living in walkable communities also allows people to age in place, particularly when they no longer drive. 

 

But look around. How walkable is your city or town? And how well will it contribute to your ability to continue living there as you age? 

 

If you’re a baby boomer, now is the time to assess your community’s walkability and take steps to improve it so that when you need a walkable neighborhood, the appropriate elements will be in place. 

AARP Walk Audit Tool Kit (https://bit.ly/2OxFYQi) shows you how to conduct a community walk audit with friends, family, neighbors, and community groups. 

The kit walks you through the audit (https://bit.ly/3aokPAC), which takes about an hour, and asks you to identify roads and intersections that are dangerous for pedestrians but that can and should be safely walkable and crossable. The sections are: 

  • Crossing Streets and Intersections 
  • Sidewalks 
  • Driver Behavior 
  • Safety 
  • Comfort and Appeal 
  • Overall Ratings and Observations

For each, it tells you what to look for to make an assessment asks you to rate each section. 

The guide also talks about how to contact city officials to share findings and advocate for change and improvements. 

 

To make your case for greater walkability, one compelling statistic worth sharing with city officials and community groups comes from CEOs for Cities. It found that a one-point Walk Score (https://bit.ly/3akSlry) increase raised the value of homes by as much as $3,000.

 

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