The focus of my dissertation is I’m really interested
in healthy aging and how things like the built environments and our neighborhood surroundings
impact our health status particularly mental health for older adults. There’s terrible
statistics out there that only about one in three older adults will age successfully.
And that’s not nearly enough and we all are going to lose, have some issues with losing
our independence, but we want to maintain that as much as we can. We want to make sure
that you can still go to the church that you’ve always attended or you can go out for coffee
with your friends, that you can take a walk around your neighborhood. That’s there’s options
for you to help maintain that quality of life that you’ve enjoyed over the years. Walking
around Old Louisville where we are right now there’s a lot of wonderful opportunities for
older adults, that we know that there’s a lot of connectivity with the transit stops
you can access a TARC bus pretty easily. There’s a lot of sidewalks so there’s a safe place
for you to walk separated from the cars. We really look for curb cuts and smooth transitions
when you get to the end of a block. If you’re using some sort of mobility aid, is it in
fact safe for you to cross, is there a tripping hazard that you need to worry about? We look
for benches. If you’re out for a walk and you need a little rest, is there somewhere
you can take a break? Is there somewhere that you can go? Is there a restaurant? Is there
a café, a little shop? Is there a reason to go out into the neighborhood and explore?
If you’ve ever been out in a Kentucky summer when the sun’s beating down, shade trees are
really important for your willingness to walk around. Aesthetics matter. It kind of all
builds together. Does it look nice? Do I feel safe out here? Do I actually want to walk
around this neighborhood? If it’s dark and spooky, if it looks like it’s run down or
not well maintained, that’s not somewhere you’re going to feel comfortable walking.
So those are all good things that we look for in a built environment and a lot of those
we’ll see around here in Old Louisville.