A recent University of Kansas study found that walkable communities keep older adults’ cognition sharp. And, contrary to popular belief, complex neighborhood layouts do not necessarily confuse older residents — instead they appear to protect cognitive performance over time.
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Watts thinks that planners and architects could benefit from these findings. She notes that “[f]eatures of a neighborhood that encourage walking for transportation require having someplace worth walking to, like neighbors’ houses, stores and parks…[f]or older adults, safety is a key issue in walkability…That includes things like traffic lights that give ample time to cross, sidewalks that are in good repair, and benches to stop and rest.”