New Horizons: What to Look For in an Age-Friendly Community

July 23, 2019

Right-Size the Right Way With This Downsizing Wish List


Has the time come when mowing your lawn brings you dread, climbing up and down stairs is a hassle and shovelling your way through another Calgary winter is already giving you the chills? You may be ready to downsize – or “right-size” as we call it – your lifestyle! 


While downsizing offers the opportunity to embrace the inevitable change, pull up the stumps and find a new home that will suit you and your needs to a tee, it’s also about finding a community where you can thrive, make connections and comfortably age in place.


To point you in the right direction, University District has come up with a wish list of what to consider when in search of new digs in an age-friendly community. Let’s dive in!


When it comes to downsizing, the first step is to know when to make the move. Whether your goal is to travel more, save money or spend weekends with family and friends, these five tell-tale signs can help you decide if it’s time to downsize. 



Access to Amenities


When rightsizing to your ideal home and community, don’t forget about your surroundings. It’s a matter of ensuring your community not only gives you access to the amenities you seek, it should bring you joy as well!


If golf is your obsession, a community near a country club or golf course would be ideal or if your passion is yoga, seek out neighbourhoods within close proximity to yoga studios and fitness facilities.  Do you have children or an energetic fur baby that needs to be walked twice a day? You will want a neighbourhood that offers a playground nearby and a park to walk your four-legged pal. The closer you can be to the things you enjoy, the less time wasted commuting and the happier you will be!


Tip: When considering the move to “rightsize” look for developments that offer several lifestyle amenities such as a workout facility, communal workspace, grilling stations and more. You can use them all you like without worrying about the upkeep! Esquire by Truman, located in the heart of U/D, is one such development. From a pet spa and DIY workshop space for handy types and hobbyists to a movement studio, 24/7 gym and spin studio. Esquire is like no other, boasting unique amenities that create an enjoyable daily living experience!



Meaningful Connections: A Social Network


Strong social connections and a sense of belonging are important at any age or stage in life. Consider neighbourhoods that embrace opportunities for socialization. This includes community centres or social groups, playgrounds, parks and creative activities that draw like-minded people, such as communal art projects, cooking classes and more. 


If you have a penchant for lifelong learning, look for a homestead with nearby colleges and universities, such as our neighbour  University of Calgary,  where they offer free education for seniors (65 and older) or where you can tutor young, bright minds. Whatever stimulates your mind and fuels your body, choose a community where you can meet new friends, find new interests and embrace your new lease on life with gusto!


Tip: From yoga and golf to leisurely strolls and badminton, these days there’s no shortage of activities to keep people stimulated. However, it’s more fun to share these experiences with another! Check out the PlayCity App, which connects people through the joy and power of play and builds real relationships for people in the Northwest and beyond. 


From building a walkable neighbourhood that puts pedestrians first, to offering independent seniors living condos such as Maple by Truman that allow us to stay close to the people that matter most – University District is bringing NW Calgary a community that’s built for life. Find out how our commitment to building a community of age-inclusivity is shaping U/D’s growth! Read on here



Nearby Medical Services


Aging in place is more than choosing a home close to a hospital or walk-in clinic. While this is important for healthy aging, it goes beyond that. When looking at communities, find a neighbourhood with easy access to an adequate number of medical practices, family doctors and therapy clinics, too.  This is especially crucial if someone in your family requires frequent and regular medical attention. You can even take it one step further by checking out the quality of these facilities including their expertise and that of their team. Peace of mind has no price tag!


Tip: If access to health services is important to you, run a quick online search for medical clinics, hospitals and even chiropractic and physiotherapy practices in your preferred communities, or refer to our blog for a little extra help. Remember to look at neighbouring communities as well!



Car Free Transportation


It’s not what you think. Today, tossing the keys often means freedom! While it may be hard to imagine not having a vehicle to help you get around, there may come a day when physical challenges or vision problems will affect your ability to drive. It’s important to look for a community that is walkable and pedal-friendly with everything within strolling distance and has nearby access to public transit. 


Nowadays with services like Uber, carshare and bikeshare, people can make a choice to live in a pedestrian-oriented community, giving them the freedom to explore their neighbourhood, meet and connect with neighbours and build life-long memories and relationships along the way.


Tip:  Before you take the leap and go car free, start with a plan! Examine your car usage, assess alternative options and commuting alternatives. Try going car-lite by leaving your car in the garage for a week. Do all your local errands by foot, bike or via public transit see how you do. Consider it a test drive without the car!


Going car-lite or car-free means more opportunities to explore your surroundings feet-first or on two wheels. University District is close to some of Calgary’s most beautiful rides with distant mountain views and tree-lined paths. We met with Andrel Reid, former chief idea officer with NOMAD to get the scoop on NW routes the whole family can enjoy. Check out his suggestions here



Adequate Accessibility 


Being part of a community means more than just living within its borders.  It’s being able to buy groceries at the local market down the street, chatting with neighbours while taking Fido out for his evening stroll, or taking the kids or grandkids to the community playground where everyone can play, regardless of age and abilities. However these opportunities are only possible for everyone in a community if they are accessible. 


Think about the level of accessibility you or your loved ones require. From walkable streets, diverse housing options and affordable home-care services to wheelchair ramps into local shops and widened park paths and sidewalks for those with canes, walkers or wheelchairs. Accessibility is key when considering the move to downsize. It can be the difference between living in a community and truly experiencing and thriving in it!

Tip: Come to University District for an afternoon of play at our Northwest Commons Park, a Playcore National Demonstration Site that includes features to attract and delight fun-seekers of all ages and abilities. From play areas for different age groups to sensory areas and special features like a community ping pong table, there are playful opportunities for everyone!


Whether you’re considering to “rightsize” your life or are in the throes of it, think deeply on what is important to you right now – and what you will need in the years to come. It can be an overwhelming, stressful and emotional experience, however doing a little research at the outset can make the process go more smoothly so you can focus on your next chapter – living in a comfortable and stylish environment that meets your health, wellbeing and lifestyle needs!


Have a suggestion of your own to share? We want to hear from you! Share your tips and suggestions with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Join the Discussion

Comments are moderated before being posted. Your email address is required but will not be published.

Join our email list for more information and our newsletter.
I'm interested in learning more about:
Popular Keywords
Summer Wellness Checklist: Essential Activities for a Healthy Summer
The Latest 2024 Design Trends: Q&A with Jayman BUILT’s Expert Team
Discover the Best Weekly Deals on Retail Main Street at University District!
The Best Picnic Spots In and Around U/D
See All Blog Posts
2023, A year in review, active, Activity, Age-friendly community, Aging in place, Alberta, Alberta Children's Hospital, All ages, ALT Hotel, Alt Hotels, amenities, Ana Cummings, apartment rental, Aria, Artist, August, Bakeries, baking tips, Balcony, Balcony Decor, BBQ, beard grooming, Bike routes, BILD Awards, Block Party, blockbuster movie night, Bookstores, Bragg Creek, Breakfast, Brenda Stafford Foundation, Brenda Strafford Foundation, Brookfield Residential, Brunch, Bubble Tea, Bucket List, Budget, Budget conscious, Builder Launch, Building Industry and Land Development, Business, Calgary, Calgary Activities, Calgary Art, Calgary bakeries, Calgary business, Calgary community, Calgary Drinks, Calgary events, Calgary Fitness, Calgary Hearing, Calgary LRT, Calgary Parks, Calgary Real Estate, Calgary restaurants, Calgary staycation, Calgary tourism, Calgary Trails, Calgary Transit, Calgary Women, Cambridge Manor, Canada, Canada Day, Canmore, Capella, Cartwright lighting & furniture, Celebration, centerpieces, Central Commons, Charcut, charity, cineplex, Classes, Cochrane, comfort food, Community, community festival, Community Living, condo life, condos, connections, contest, cookie baking, cooking, cooking together, Creative, Crystal Creek Homes, Curious Hair, Curious Salon, Date Ideas, Date night, Decor, Decor Shops, Decor Tips, Denim & Smith, Dental, dental care, design styles, Dining, Discounts and Deals, Discovery Centre, DIY, dog park, Dogs, Downsize, downsizing, downsizing tips, Easter, Eco decor, eLearning, Entertainment, environment, events, exercise, Explore, Fall, Fall Decor, fall design, family, Father's Day, Financial, fitness, fitness as we age, food, food waste, Functional Fitness, Garden Maintenance, gardening, gift guide, giving back, golf, Green Calgary, Grey Cup, Group Germain Hotels, Guide to Northwest Calgary, gym, hair grooming, Health, Healthy Eating, Healthy Foods, Hearing loss, hobbies, holiday, holiday activities, Holiday Budget, holiday memories, Holiday movies, holiday parties, holiday season, holiday traditions, holiday wines, home, Home Automation, home decor, Home Maintenance, home office, Home organization, Home Ownership, Home Technology, homemade pizza, Homeowners, hosting the holidays, housing, I Can for Kids, IBI Group, Ice Cream, Ice Cream Shops, Ice Rink, inclusive, Interior Design, Interior Design for your pets, Interior Design Tips, interior lighting, International Womens Day, Isolation, Jayman, Jayman BUILT, Kananaskis, kids learning, Level Playing Field, lighting, local, local business, local good, Love on Main Street, love your pet, made in Calgary, Magna, Maple, Market Wines, McKinley Burkart, meal prep, meals, mens grooming, mental health, mindful spaces, Mother's Day Brunch, Movies at home, moving, multi-generational, Nature, New at UD, New homes, New Projects, New Resident, Night Market, North Calgary, North Hill Mall, North Pond, Northwest Calgary, Northwest Calgary Brunch, Northwest Commons Park, Northwest neighbour, Northwestival, nutrition tips, NW Calgary, Office, Olympic Oval, online learning, Orangetheory, Organization, outdoors, Park n' Play Design, Parks, Partners, party hosting tips, Patio Decor, pet care, pet love, Photography, Picnic, plant, plant care, play space, Playcore National Demonstration Site, playground, Programs, puppy love, rafting, real estate, recipes, redecorating, rent to own, rentals, restaurant, Retail, Retail Main Street, retailers, Rightsize, Romance, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Save-On-Foods, seasonal maintenance, senior health, Senior living, Seniors, sensory gadgets, shop local, Skating, Smaller space living, Smart Home, Sports, Spring, Spring Cleaning, Staples, Staycation, Summer Activities, Summer Food, summer getaways, sustainable design, table setting, tablescape, Thanksgiving, The Space Reclaimers, things to do, tips, Tips and Tricks, tourism calgary, townhome, townhome living, townhouse living, Trails in Northwest Calgary, travel, travel alberta, TREC Dental, U/D, UCalgary, UD Events, UD Life, UDLife, University District, University District Dental, University of Calgary, Urban Balcony, urban dog park, Urban Garden, Urban Patio Decor, Valentines Day, Vegan Cuisine, Vegan Food, Vendors, vermicomposting, Village Ice Cream, Volunteer, Volunteerism, Walking, West Campus Development Trust, Wine, wine experience, Winefest, Winsport Zipline, winter, winter activities, winter festival, Winter Fitness, winter fun, winter memories, winter pet care, winter pet care tips, winter traditions, winter warm up, Winter workout, women grooming, Women Leaders, workouts, Yard, year in review, YYC Events, YYC Hot Chocolate Fest

Discover NW Calgary's most interesting places, people and things

Visit Our Channel

Looking for something to do in NW Calgary?

Check Out Our Event Calendar

The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and a closer look at the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.