Urban design for active aging is vital part of future-proofing livability in our towns and cities. According to the World Health Organisation "active ageing is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age."
As we grow older, it is important for our mental and physical health that we continue to participate in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs. This active participation requires more than simply the ability to be physically active or to participate in the labour force. Older people who retire from work, are ill or live with disabilities can remain active contributors to their families, peers, communities and nations. Active ageing aims to extend healthy life expectancy and quality of life for all people as they age.
Active ageing is about more than just keeping physically fit. Gardens are ideal locations and gardening an ideal activity to promote active ageing, reduce social isolation and improve mood. Community parks and gardens can be designed to provide for the ageing community with some additional low cost, thoughtful design considerations. Through the use of socially aware design residential public park and care home gardens can be specifically designed to aid and promote active ageing. Evidence based design tells us that well designed, inclusive gardens are a wonderful asset to any community, young or old.
On a use-it or lose-it basis daily gentle physical and mental exercise is good for us. As the population ages and people live longer, keeping fit and active in your 60s, 70s 80s and beyond plays a vital role in maintaining health and wellness and minimises risk from injuries and other age-related illnesses. Gardens designed with active ageing in mind are a cost effective asset to the community. Provision of well designed low maintenance gardens for active ageing cost far less that the health care and social costs that come from inactive ageing.
Social isolation is a leading cause of depression, which in turn is a leading contributor to physical health problems. Green therapies - time actively spent in a garden designed for the purpose - have been used since the Middle Ages to great effect. Active ageing demands we learn from our forebears to bring senior citizens back into society.
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Greenstone Design Limited is a company registered in New Zealand No 373 2566
Registered Office: 384 Minchins Rd, Sheffield, NZ 7580.
GST registration No 108 766 034