July 31, 2008

Family-Friendly 'Burbs Turn Senior Friendly

The staircase in Adele Youngblood's two-story house in the Minneapolis suburbs is a daily challenge. The 76-year-old, who's had back and knee surgeries and a hip replacement, crawls up and down the stairs using her hands as well as her feet. But Youngblood refuses to move from the home where she has lived since 1963 and raised her three children. "I get a lot of flak from my friends about moving," says Youngblood, who has been divorced since 1979. "I tell them to be quiet. It's my decision, and they know I am happier in my home."

Thanks largely to a program run by the Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis, Youngblood has been able to continue living in memory-filled surroundings. The program arranged for a walker for each floor, grab bars in the shower and an emergency button if she needs help.

This program is part of a growing movement nationwide to help aging suburbanites like Youngblood stay in their homes safely for as long as possible. About 90% of retirees and 80% of baby-boomers say they want to remain in their longtime neighborhoods indefinitely, according to an AARP survey.

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