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Active ageing around the world


30 January 2019

Couples kayaking on river

Active aging is a concept the World Health Organisation introduced in 2002 to encourage individuals to lead healthier lifestyles as they aged. It has been estimated that the population of over 50’s is to double by 2030. This means that provinces and cities will need to modify their lifestyles and amenities to meet the demographic change over time. KwaZulu-Natal is one of the many places around the world where adjustments have already started in order to ensure retirees can lead a vigorous way of life. We take a look at some of the cities around the world to see how they have created an ideal haven for active retirees.

Changes in sight

Younger generations are not the only ones shaping cities; due to the rise of individuals over the age of 50, the older generations are also influencing how nodes are changing. As it stands, there are 700 cities in 39 countries signed up to promote the World Health Organisation’s active ageing concept. This means that these cities are taking actions to make their cities and communities more age-friendly with healthier lifestyles for retirees, ensuring they have a better quality of life.

Innovative ageing

You may be wondering, what are other parts of the world doing to promote active ageing?

A study in the UK showed that those over 50 years of age benefited from free public transport, as it eliminated depression and loneliness, as well as increased their mental health. After the study, more public transport systems allowed free travel for people over 50.

Another area of London created a disability charity called ‘Wheels for Wellbeing’ where those with disabilities are offered sessions on adapted bikes which make keeping mobile, independent and fit fun and engaging. A concept of ‘Homeshare’ was also introduced in the United Kingdom, which allows people with a spare room to rent to people in exchange for helping with tasks and companionship. It’s a great way of bringing the old and young together and supporting multi-generational living as well.

Copenhagen piloted a fun community group called ‘Cycling Without Age’, which enables older individuals to get a ride on a tricycle rickshaw pedalled by volunteers. Whereas Florida has created a village development scheme that houses thousands of retirees and links them all through engaging amenities and roadways for only golf carts.  Similarly, China has a similar concept that gives elderly easy, hassle-free access to all the facilities they need, from healthcare to leisure facilities.

KwaZulu-Natal ideal for retirees

Much like these cities around the world, KwaZulu-Natal is slowly adapting to ensure safe and easy living for those retired. Umhlanga, as well as the Sibaya Coastal Precinct, have been adapted to support modern living and also create retirement opportunities where all that is needed is literally close to your doorstep, from medical suites, shopping centres, transport systems and more.  The Sibaya Coastal Precinct is creating safe green areas where families can stroll along the promenade. Umhlanga has a number of security features and management associations to ensure the area is not only kept neat but is safe for people to wonder about. Both locations are close to the beach and are community focused.

While developments may be looking to the future for generations to come, they are also not forgetting about the existing generations and how to best create spaces and homes where these over 50 communities can lead healthy, active lifestyles.

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