Almost 40 million persons living in the United States—of which nearly 60% is female—are 65 years and older. This number may rise to 55 million by 2020. Almost one in four in this older cohort lives today in the nation’s non-metropolitan reaches, some on the metropolitan fringe, others in isolated centers, and still others in more remote lower density rural counties. This paper explores in each such setting the measure of incongruence between the personal needs of an older aging population and the capacity of each class of place in addressing these needs. “Exit, voice” and “loyalty” are seen to represent three distinct avenues whereby older persons seek to attain an improved congruence between personal needs and place capacities. Whereas relocation (exit) is viable for some, most of the elderly are “stayers,” aging in place, and for these voice and loyalty are the sole options. Policy implications are briefly addressed.
|Keywords:||Ecology of Aging, Non-metropolitan America, Community Capacity, Alternate Life Trajectories, Local Policy Development, Needs-capacities Mismatches|
Professor and Director, Center for Sustainable Urbanism, College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA