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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 138931, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/138931
Review Article

Ensuring Mobility-Supporting Environments for an Aging Population: Critical Actors and Collaborations

1Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA
2Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA

Received 28 January 2011; Accepted 21 April 2011

Academic Editor: Steven Hooker

Copyright © 2011 Chris S. Kochtitzky et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Successful aging takes on an array of attributes, including optimal health and community participation. Research indicates that (1) persons with disabilities, including age-related disabilities, report frequent barriers to community participation, including unsuitable building design (43%), transportation (32%), and sidewalks/curbs (31%), and (2) many seniors report an inability to cross roads safely near their homes. This paper attempts to define mobility-related elements that contribute to optimal health and quality of life, within the context of successful aging. It then examines the impacts of community design on individual mobility, delving into which traditional and nontraditional actors—including architects, urban planners, transportation engineers, occupational therapists, and housing authorities—play critical roles in ensuring that community environments serve as facilitators (rather than barriers) to mobility. As America ages, mobility challenges for seniors will only increase unless both traditional aging specialists and many nontraditional actors make a concerted effort to address the challenges.