Are your neighborhood’s sidewalks clear of debris? Is your home as trip-hazard-free as it could be?
With many of us spending more time at home and in our communities, these questions are well worth considering -- and the power to improve them is in our hands.
“One of our great beliefs is that the more people are tuned into and aware of their environment, the more they can play a role in helping to make it better,” said Danielle Arigoni, director of the AARP Livable Communities Initiative.
In a recent Texas Bullhorn conversation with AARP Texas State Director Tina Tran, Arigoni discussed Livable Communities’ work supporting local leaders and advocates to effect change in the areas of housing, transportation, parks and public spaces -- all in the service of making them safer, more attractive and accessible for people of all ages.
Last week, for example, AARP distributed more than $2.4 million to fund 184 quick-action projects across the country. Known as Community Challenge Grants, the funding allotted to Texas projects in 2020 will support community improvements in Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso.
“The best way to help people live their best life at every age is to make sure that we’re helping to create communities that really support that,” Arigoni said.
But everyone has a part to play.
By simply taking a stroll through your neighborhood with Livable Community’s Walk audit guides, you can collect valuable information about its livability. These one-page worksheets, available in English and Spanish, help walkers audit their surroundings by collecting data on things like how clear of debris the sidewalk is, how long the crosswalk lights take and who else is using the space.
“We take these audits and send them to our city council members,” Tran said, “and we really have seen these worksheets be an impetus for change.”
Our homes also need to adapt to our needs, Tran added, especially as many of us will become caregivers or will need care at some point in the future.
A new HomeFit Guide, set for release on September 9, is packed full of ideas big and small to better your home. Suitable for any dwelling from apartments to townhouses to single-family homes, it will include tips for using smart home tech, recommendations on how to avoid tripping on your pets and intentional fixes for safer spaces.
To preorder the free guide now, follow the email instructions here.