Making The Economic Case For Age-Friendly Communities

Cross-posted from The Huffington Post
By John Feather, PhD CEO, Grantmakers In Aging

Follow the money. That is my advice to anyone seeking support for livable and age-friendly communities — great places to grow up and grow old.

Age-friendly, livable, lifelong communities have much to offer. Walkability. Good transit and transportation. Affordable, accessible housing. Employment and volunteer opportunities at every age. Well-coordinated health and social services. More ability to age in place. More inclusion and intergenerational connection. People of almost any age value these things, which is one reason the movement is gaining momentum around the world.

How can we leverage that momentum and find significant, sustainable support for lifelong communities? When I speak about this on behalf of Grantmakers In Aging, I pose this hypothetical question:

Imagine you’re the mayor of a small town. The economy is slow, and you need to do something to improve the quality of life in your town. Luckily, you have an opportunity to bring in 1,000 new residents of your choosing. You can choose 1,000 40-year-olds, or 1,000 60-year-olds. Who will do more for your economy?

Ninety-nine mayors out of a hundred would say the 40-year-olds. Unfortunately for them (and their towns’ economies), it’s the wrong answer.

Continue reading on The Huffington Post.

1 thought on “Making The Economic Case For Age-Friendly Communities

  1. Thank you for sharing this post on making the Economic Case for Age-Friendly Communities. After reading the ways that older adults bring economic benefit to their community, I wanted to know if Texas, particularly Fort Worth, was making moves toward developing Age-Friendly Communities. According to, December 2016, the City Council approved a plan that would lead Fort Worth, TX into becoming an age-friendly community. Forth Worth is not alone; other Texas cities that are adapting Age-Friendly Communities are Austin, Brownville, Dallas and San Antonio. As an aging consumer in Fort Worth, it is encouraging to know that my government realizes the value we bring to the economy.

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