#AgingVoices campaign targets better lifestyles for older adults
Aging Matters

This week, we launched the campaign to make cities and states a better place for older adults to age.

After much ado, the social media hashtag campaign is #AgingVoices and the promotion hopes to kick-start the movement that prompts city and state officials to look out for the older voters' desires and preferences. Like I mentioned last week, sometimes it feels like seniors are left behind because our needs like public transportation, health care, affordable housing, work/jobs, etc. fall on deaf ears.

The goal for the campaign is to shed light on local and state governments to help older Americans age better. I admit, my mission is purely selfish because i have a high desire to age at home and to avoid living in a long-term care facility. So, the campaign will serve my needs in particular and hopefully, you'll benefit as well.

#AgingVoices received some attention on social media so far this week, but since it's one week into the launch, I remain hopeful. However, as I query government officials, and remind them of our needs, I hope you'll do your part too by calling your State Congress and Senate to voice what you want and desire.

Officials hold the key in solving aging in place worries but so do consumers. But I know the "government" is not totally responsible because the constituents have the power to influence change -- we just need to be active and verbal. However, in order to influence change, older adults must understand what officials are doing right now and plan to do in the near future to address transportation, housing, health care costs, etc.

Basically, I want to address the "living" components that older adults need to age in place at home. Here's my take on it:

  • Housing - Is it possible for state and city officials to give us tax incentives to remodel our home so that our places/houses are safer for us as our bodies and minds age? And if an older adult needs care at home, find a college student who needs a place to live. Give them free or reduced rent in exchange for services like running errands, taking you to the doctor, cleaning your home and doing household tasks.
  • Transportation - Are officials willing to look at other ways for us to access transportation aside from spending sizeable chunks of change on city buses? How about making a deal with the sharing economy companies like Uber or Lyft? Give their drivers tax incentives to provide rides to seniors living in the suburbs.
  • Financial - yes, more tax incentives but this time to businesses who hire people over 50.
  • Social/Activities - older adults need activities to stay fit and make connections. Maybe Lyft drivers can give us a ride to the local senior centers, libraries, or to have lunch with a friend?
  • Healthcare - we need to lower long-term and acute care expenses -- can we look to the local Universities' nursing students in advanced training to offer medical help in our homes? If nurses can provide post care to older adults, the States could give stipends to the students who need help reducing their student loans.

The point being, can private enterprise help older adults age safely and independntly, and lower the burden on our government? What do you think?

Carol Marak, aging advocate and editor at Seniorcare.com. She's earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.

Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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