August 13, 2020
For those living with a disability or chronic health condition, isolation can feel all too familiar. This is particularly an issue for seniors who are limited in their mobility. According to a report from the National Institute for Aging (NIH), the physical health of senior citizens can be negatively impacted by social isolation and loneliness. Sadly, this often leads to poor health outcomes.
With as many as 13.8 million older adults living alone, one of the best ways to combat social isolation is to ensure that shared spaces are accessible. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) both have standards for the accessibility of new construction, but those standards are designed primarily to aid those with mobility impairments.
Since many older adults used to be able-bodied, adapting to new physical limitations during their senior years means navigating new skills and tools. Fortunately, advocating for accessibility is something that we can all help with, in both small- and large-scale ways.
Many of these same principles apply to public spaces as well, but of course you have less control over those environments. When advocating for seniors, it helps to:
When you make it a point to ensure that spaces are accessible, you’ll quickly find that it’s not just seniors who benefit. Disability is a fact of life for 61 million adults — that’s one in four! — so you can feel great knowing that accessibility makes a huge difference for many of us.
This article was originally published on IBX Insights.
I work in Medicare Marketing at Independence and blog about navigating life with chronic illness and other issues relevant to caregivers and health care consumers of all ages.