AGEING: Can the suburbs be bad for your health?

The burbs are detrimental to one’s health. Living in Toronto is better for your health but bad for your budget.

In her apartment building at Bay and Bloor, Adina Lebo has neighbours that include a young couple and a 94-year-old woman.

Adina Lebo is hoping to “age in place” — something experts say is easier to do in Toronto’s downtown neighbourhoods than in the suburbs.
Adina Lebo is hoping to “age in place” — something experts say is easier to do in Toronto’s downtown neighbourhoods than in the suburbs.  (JIM RANKIN / TORONTO STAR)

The older woman needs a hand with her groceries. The couple needs someone to check in on their cats when they’re away.

“We all help each other,” said Lebo, who’s in her late 60s. “It’s way better for the health of everybody to have people of all ages around.”

It’s the kind of arrangement Lebo wants to keep as she “ages in place” downtown, hoping to stay in her community, where she can easily get to coffee shops, grocery stores and a movie theatre.

As part of an occasional series, the Star is taking a look at the old fault lines of amalgamation and re-examining where the city is divided, and united.

Toronto, like Canada, is getting older, but the city’s suburbs are ageing faster than downtown. The problem, experts say, is that the suburbs, especially the former municipalities of Scarborough and Etobicoke, have largely been designed around driving, and can be more difficult places to age in place.

Read more:
Meet Toronto’s ‘reverse commuters,’ the people going the other way while you’re stuck in traffic

Toronto is more diverse than ever, but downtown is falling behind

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