Aging in Place in Chevy Chase Lake
In the past several years, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has done a tremendous amount of research on livable communities for seniors. One particular report entitled, “A Report to the Nation on Livable Communities: Creating Environments for Successful Aging”, is a trove of information on what makes a community accommodating of seniors and those aging in place. Their “six point call to action” provides some good guidance as we plan for a redeveloped Chevy Chase Lake. A few points are very relevant to the types of decisions being made now in the planning process. One of the six points is that “communities should take positive steps to enhance mobility options, including public transportation, walking and bicycling, and specialized transportation for individuals with varied functional capabilities and preferences.” These are things that will be provided by improvements such as the Purple Line, bikeshare, and improved sidewalks. Another point from AARP, “communities should encourage stability by ensuring an adequate supply of diverse and affordable housing environments”, is being met by the additional affordable housing provided through redevelopment.
The recommendation I’d like to focus on in this post is slightly more social, but very important. The recommendation from AARP is: Communities should promote community features expressly intended to enhance safety and inclusiveness for persons of all ages and abilities. It further asks that communities “promote the availability of community-based services (such as home care).” These types of services promote aging in place. Aging in place is a concept where those who would like to stay in their homes longer are provided services to accommodate this rather than moving into a retirement or assisted care facility. For some this means services that will allow them to maintain their single family home when they are no longer able. For others this may mean getting some basic cleaning or cooking services so they can continue to live in an apartment or condominium.
One such organization in Chevy Chase that promotes and provides these kinds of services is Chevy Chase At Home. Chevy Chase At Home (CC@ H) has 115 member families in the area bounded by East-West Highway, Beach Drive, Western and Wisconsin Avenues. Volunteers who live in the same neighborhood drive members to doctors or grocery stores, walk dogs, do minor household repairs, show how to use a smart phone or program a DVD player, even drag out fallen tree branches to the street. After a bad storm, members check on older residents to make sure all is well. Carefully-vetted home care agencies partner with CC@ H to assist members who need residential services, from a few hours a week to full-time. Social programs give members the chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones, enjoy an interesting speaker or art project, and feel that they remain an integral part of the neighborhood.
Thanks to CC@ H, Chevy Chase municipalities are now aware of ways to become “age-friendly communities.” One neighborhood will soon install street benches so older people (and young mothers with children) can rest on the way to shopping or the community center. Another offers free meeting space for CC@ H programs open to the public. And a local restaurant provides a table for a monthly Brunch Bunch where older people in the neighborhood can grab breakfast and keep in touch.
The Chevy Chase Land Company is a supporter of organizations like Chevy Chase At Home because we value the perspective, experience and diversity that older residents bring to our community. Providing a quality, livable community for all ages is one of our goals as we plan for a redeveloped Chevy Chase Lake. Please take the time to provide us what you think would make a redeveloped Chevy Chase Lake more livable for seniors by clicking the feedback link on the right side of this page.
← Testimony of The Chevy Chase Land Company Regarding the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan Staff Draft We Have Three Simple Questions for You →