AARP releases new tool to help Atlanta agents serve older clients

by Chip Bell


What do seniors look for in a neighborhood?

It’s a smart question for real estate agents to ask, considering the rapid growth of the country’s 65-and-older population.

In 2014, 46.2 million people in the U.S. were at least 65 years old; and 78 percent of them were homeowners. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expects the country’s older population to more than double by 2060.

A past survey from AARP attempted to answer the question of what older homebuyers are looking for in a community. Its members responded (in order of importance): increased police presence; improved schools; pedestrian-friendly streets; easy access to transportation for older adults and people with disabilities; and plenty of parks and green space.

In terms of nearby amenities, older Americans agreed on the following:

Amenity Share of Older Adults Who Want This Amenity Within A Mile Of Their Home
Bus Stop 50%
Grocery Store 47%
Park 42%
Pharmacy/Drug Store 42%
Hospital 29%
Church/Religious 29%
Train/Subway 23%
Big Box Store 18%
Entertainment 16%
Mall (shopping) 13%

What the AARP’s survey results showed is a population that values independent living, Rodney Harrell, director of livability thought leadership at AARP, confirmed in a recent interview with Builder.

“The features that people want the most are bus stops, grocery stores, pharmacies, and parks,” he said. “All of these things have a direct association to what a community can delivery to help independent living.”

AARP’s Livability Index

As part of an initiative to improve the ability for older persons to understand how well a particular neighborhood caters to those unique needs, Harrell and his team developed a Livability Index that evaluates a particular area on just that.

For Atlanta, the index reads:

Metric Index Score
Housing 65
Neighborhood 58
Transportation 57
Environment 19
Health 64
Engagement 60
Opportunity 18
Overall Livability Score 49

The tool was built to be consumer facing, but it will function as an asset to any agent serving an older client. It’s hyper focused, offering more than just city-wide ratings; it provides neighbor-specific, and even address-specific information.

In a market where the aging population is growing and agents need to carve out more defined business niches to succeed, Harrell and company’s Livability Index is a vital tool for showing value.

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