Worldwide, “the number of older persons has tripled over the last 50 years; it will more than triple again over the next 50 years,” according to the United Nations. In the United States, people over 65 already represent more than 12% of the population; this percentage will increase to 20% by 2030, according to the Administration on Aging.

Below are more than a dozen suggestions that communities can implement (some already have) to be better equipped for a mature population:

1. Age-appropriate fitness and recreation centers
2. Walking trails and benches throughout community
3. Free shuttle service
4. Good public transportation
5. Single point access to all aging information and services
6. Recessed bus stops
7. Wide, raised sidewalks
8. Longer crossing time at crosswalks
9. Grooved lane dividers
10. Dedicated left turns
11. Brighter lighting on streets and larger signage
12. Advance stop lines
13. “Refuge” islands in the medians of two-way streets for easier pedestrian crossing.
14. Carrier Alert Program: use “letter carriers\’ unique daily presence in America\’s
communities to keep a watchful eye on elderly, infirm and disabled citizens.”
If you\’re like many people who plan to “age in place,” take a look at this list – how does your community stack up?

Jan Cullinane is the co-author of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Rodale, 2007). She gives seminars on the (primarily) non-financial aspects of retirement through her company, "Retirement Living from A to Z."