Several cities in Kentucky are taking steps to make it easier for residents to age comfortably in their own homes.

Berea, Bowling Green and Lexington have joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. The network encourages safe streets for pedestrians, better housing and transportation options, and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities.

“Well-designed livable communities promote health and sustain economic growth,” said Carl Pagles, an AARP Kentucky volunteer. “They make for happier, healthier residents of all ages.”

Kentucky’s population of those 65 and older is growing faster than the national average. In a recent AARP survey of the state’s registered voters age 45 and older, more than three in four respondents said they want to stay in their homes and communities as long as possible.

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities encourages states, cities, towns and rural areas to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population by paying increased attention to the environmental, economic and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults.

Launches in 2012, the network promotes such things as walkable communities with safe crosswalks on public streets, the building of smaller homes in more compact neighborhoods and safe bicycling.

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