This article was first viewed on Huffington Post when the title intrigued me. Since I am sixtysh and live alone, it's refreshing to see city planners actively involved in making life a lot easier for us. Members of the elder orphan Facebook group have voiced concern about crucial topics like affordable housing, high medical costs, and the need for accessible transportation. These are part of the Institute's roadmap. If you are close to being in your sixties, you might also enjoy this.
We cannot afford to overlook the needs of older residents across the country. Business influencers and senior care experts struggle to find answers. Seniorcare.com aging council was asked, "What can local officials and thought leaders do to mitigate the hard issues older adults contend with that strain their independence and security when living at a distance from needed services?"
Change Resident Attitude......by Stephen D. Forman, ClTC
A city's aged population can be seen as a financial burden or valued resource. The best way to ensure the latter is by optimizing the physical and mental health of its residents. Urban design (with a walk-friendly city), zoning (which types of community-based care can be built, and where), and tax breaks (keeping LTC costs affordable by meeting supply with demand) are all steps to consider. Just start the conversation at local city meetings and become familiar with current programs and services to determine where the gaps exist and strengthen those programs that work and find non-traditional solutions that address the significant concerns.
Improve Transportation.......by Kathryn Watson
We need to figure out transportation because people need to get out of their homes. Some health issues may affect their ability to drive, and low-cost driving options are in demand. Invest to improve the walkability aspects of cities--it helps all residents. Options like transportation, city parks, sidewalks, security, pedestrian safety, housing and retail located nearby create a livable environment. Some cities are buying into the concept but many are not.
Create a Culture of Support......by Evan Farr
The Age-Friendly DC Initiative performs a block-by-block walk over the summer to check in on seniors living alone and to inform them about transportation, meals and nutrition programs. The AARP is also involved in spreading the word about age-friendly policies, many aimed at preventing isolation by promoting inter-generational social and networking activities.
As a community, we need a network of support programs to intervene during a crisis. We also need strategies to focus on prevention as well. Volunteer-based programs can go a long way to stretch resources and create feelings of community. Seniors can be both the recipients of volunteer help as well as the volunteers which keep them connected. Shannon Martin.
Gain backing from companies, medical groups, and other businesses to promote programs that help residents age in place. In the greater Sacramento Area Valley, they have several useful options which delivers services and long-term support to seniors so that they can maintain independence. Kaye Swain.
Offer low-price transportation, create senior centers, and design outreach solutions that allow adults to feel support while living alone. By providing volunteer opportunities, seniors gain a sense of contributing and giving back to our society which can reduce the feelings of isolation. Ben Mandelbaum.
City leaders must increase budgets for programs to reach and serve adults who are aging alone. More social workers, senior housing options, coordinated medical care, and programs that encourage socialization.
Understand the Needs
Establish a benchmark. Use planning tools to locate and define the "aging and living alone group." Figure out what makes them tick. Think access, matching projections to need (medical, municipal, social, housing, etc.) and identify services for development or refinement. Nancy Ruffner.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. Please feel free to post your comments.
I Have worn many hats in my day: Nursing Home Assistant Admin and Activities Director, Assisted Living Admin, Case Management for the State-wide Medicaid Program, and Trainer for Dept of Elder Affairs.