Housing and the built environment are well-established social determinants of healthy longevity, yet no guidelines or standards exist for the design and construction of health-promoting environments, especially for older adults who are at risk for functional decline and frailty. To envision what should be included in the design of healthy communities, it may help to reverse-engineer what each of us would like our lives to look like in old age. In this special article, a geriatrician draws on his own personal aspirations and successful models of supportive community-based programs to suggest key factors that should be considered in the design of future living environments. These include healthy housing that can enable aging in place without social isolation and loneliness; engagement in meaningful and productive work; financial, physical, transportation, food, and housing security; and affordable high-quality home- and community-based healthcare. By conceptualizing what we would like our later years to look like, future leaders can be more deliberate in creating living environments that promote a long and productive health span.
© 2020 The American Geriatrics Society.