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!
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 Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.