by Chris Kennedy
Executive Director, Institute for Age-Friendly Housing
"Aging is the reality of our lives, and we are going to see a very dramatic demographic shift over the next 10 years, when one out of every four persons will be a senior above the age of 60," declares County Supervisor, Cindy Chavez, Chair of the Children, Seniors and Family Committee. "We have the opportunity now to shape the future of our county as an age-friendly community." (Read more ...)
Cities for All Ages, Winds of Change and Solutions in Common: Increasing Our Effectiveness by Working Outside Our Silos are programs created by Don Weden, Retired Santa Clara County Planner who has tirelessly championed our growing older-adult population. His informative and entertaining presentations stress the need to look at the convergence of diverse problems such as climate change, land use, and transportation changes as we plan for a future of an increasing older adult population. As one county leader said, "Don's presentation scared me to death! It's a real wake up call to what is coming and what we need to do now!"
Since 2008, the Annual Silicon Valley Positive Aging Forum has attracted policy makers, educators, healthcare providers, business leaders and consumers to learn about innovative programs and emerging models of housing and services for older adults. "The Institute for Age-Friendly Housing created the Forum for two reasons," says Joan Holmes, Board Member of the Institute for Age-Friendly Housing, "One, to raise awareness about the challenges and opportunities of the demographic shift, and two, to connect professionals across silos."
"It is exciting to see," continues Holmes, "that both the public and private sectors of the Valley are awakening to the challenge facing us all: the Silver Tsunami is coming! And current housing, technology and service models are not sufficient to meet the needs of an older generation who want to age-in-place in their homes and communities."
Whether seniors are actively engaged in encore careers, connected to civic organizations and social circles, physically and intellectually active or secluded and less vigorous, they are speaking up in greater numbers than ever before to express definite desires to remain in their homes and communities. Their aging-in-place makes it imperative that we act now!
That's why -- now is the time that Silicon Valley is ready to become age-friendly ... and the The Seniors' Agenda Project is taking that challenge on!
The Quality of Life Assessment explored Santa Clara County's current and future needs of baby boomers and seniors in the areas of housing, transportation, information & assistance, education & outreach, volunteerism & civic engagement, policy & funding, and mental health. Over 300 individuals from 110 organizations were involved in the Assessment.
The needs that the Assessment identified are not new. What IS new is the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors' creation of the Seniors' Agenda Project, and the momentum that it is building throughout the County.
"The Seniors' Agenda has launched the power of partnerships to address the needs of seniors, " says James Ramoni, Santa Clara County's Director of the Department of Aging and Adult Services. "It is a collective impact effort to address and prepare for the unprecedented change in population. Together, we can make an impact in policies and practices for creating an age-friendly place for all."
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