Sustain Charlotte empowers seniors to overcome mobility challenges by teaming up with neighborhoods across the city

Many senior adults in Charlotte struggle to maintain their mobility as they age, often resulting in social isolation and inability to meet daily needs. Thanks to generous support from Southminster, a non-profit retirement community, Sustain Charlotte is teaming up with neighborhoods across the city to identify specific mobility challenges that prevent Charlotte seniors from traveling to their desired daily destinations.

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Sustain Charlotte is engaging residents of all ages in four neighborhoods with large populations of seniors to identify age-related mobility challenges through workshops and door-to-door surveying. Together, we’ll envision an alternative scenario where all seniors have access to safe and convenient transportation.

The project will evaluate a wide range of factors that may limit senior mobility including health, safety, infrastructure, family attitudes, personal finances, knowledge of transportation options, comfort level using various transportation modes, and desire to maintain personal mobility.

Sustain Charlotte’s program staff is hosting multiple workshops or “story circles” with neighborhood residents to discuss and better understand what it’s like to be a senior there. Through this process, we will identify and reach seniors who don’t get out of their home often due to mobility challenges. We’ll partner to anonymously survey them to better understand what challenges they face.

This is both a research and an action project. We are working hand-in-hand with neighborhoods to not only better understand the specific factors that limit the mobility of seniors in their community, but to empower them with the tools to work for relevant, impactful changes. Each neighborhood will receive a report of area-specific findings. We’ll meet with community members to discuss how the report data can be used as a neighborhood tool, whether they choose to advocate for better infrastructure, apply for various programs, or create a network of residents to support senior mobility.

The project’s approach and outcomes will be replicable in other Charlotte neighborhoods in the future. Together we’re building a model for discovering mobility needs of seniors and creating safe, affordable, and accessible communities!

Want to be a part of this project? We are looking for volunteers to help with the surveying phase! Contact Michael Zytkow at

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Foundation Supporters:

Our work is generously supported by the foundations and businesses below.

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation • Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation • Wells Fargo • TransitCenter  • OrthoCarolina • Duke Energy Foundation • Parsec Financial • Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation • People For Bikes  • Blumenthal Foundation

We are a proud member of the 1% for the Planet Network.


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