Sustainable Aging: Building An Age-Friendly Rural Community

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Erin Bouldin, Assistant Professor, PhD (Creator)
Kim McCullough Ph.D, Associate Professor, Speech Language Pathology (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: The practice of successful and sustainable aging recognizes that communities must be intentional in efforts to positively affect the lives of older people. The primary aim of this article is to present one approach to sustainability in aging: the concept of age-friendly communities, which focuses on optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. Features of age-friendly communities include accessible transportation, affordable appropriate housing options, inviting outdoor spaces, quality community and health services, employment and volunteer opportunities, and access to social activities and public events. This article reviews several principles of the age-friendly framework and discusses how this global initiative can be translated into rural communities. Examples of ongoing efforts in Watauga County, North Carolina that seek to leverage resources from community-based organizations and agencies and a university to build sustainable support for people as they age are provided. Building age-friendly practices in rural communities has the potential to sustain the health and well-being of older adults as well as the communities in which they live.

Additional Information

McCullough, K. & Bouldin, E. (2021). Sustainable Aging: Building an Age-Friendly Rural Community, The Journal of the Blue Cross NC Institute for Health & Human Services: Sustainable Health. Appalachian State University. V. 1, March 23, 2021. NC Docks permission to re-print granted by author(s). Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2021
aging, sustainable aging, sustainability, Watauga County, North Carolina, age-friendly practices, quality of life, community organizations

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