Sioux Falls, SD – In 10 years, one in five Americans will be 65 or older – and urban or rural, they want a livable community. The town of Milbank in northeast South Dakota is eager to be one of those places. Milbank is inducted into the A-A-R-P network of "Age Friendly" communities today, joining Sioux Falls and more than 300 others nationwide that have committed to providing amenities that make their community more inclusive and accessible for all ages. Rachel Sherard with Avera Health, which has a facility in Milbank, says it's important that age-friendly towns are able to sustain themselves in the future.
"Age-friendly" communities are defined as equally good places to live for an eight-year-old and an 80-year-old – with transportation services, affordable housing and opportunities for social life.
Access to quality health care is also a critical component of an age-friendly city, and Sherard says telemedicine services make that possible in a state with so many small, rural towns.
According A-A-R-P's Leah Ganschow, Milbank, with a population of about 35-hundred, is typical of South Dakota communities. Residents want to retain personal independence by living in their own home throughout their lives, while also engaging in local civic life.
A-A-R-P encourages South Dakota towns and cities to apply for grants starting next week to fund livable projects – including those related to housing, transportation, smart cities and public space.