Dear Santa, Here's what I Want for Christmas
Aging Matters

In the spirit of the season, it's time for individuals, 55 and over, to share their wish list with Santa. I'm not talking about the personal gifts we hope to receive from family and friends, but the kind that city officials, tech innovators, health care professionals, housing developers, and appliance manufacturers and others could design for the aging world.

Dear Santa, I'm over 60 (just a wee bit) and I want more public transit and ways to get around. My doctor tells me that I cannot drive to certain medical tests and it's necessary for someone to drive and take me home. While I would enjoy being waited on, the restriction puts me and thousands of others in a predicament since we live alone and have no one to count on for a ride. So, Santa, can you please help us follow the doctor's orders and find a reasonable solution?

How about a service that vets people/drivers offering a companion service for senior citizens. The driver companion would sit in the medical office while the patient receives the treatment. Yes, I know there are home care agencies and private duty nurses, but sometimes these folks charge too much. Maybe you could create an app like Nextdoor - one that includes vetting, background checks, and references. And add a banking feature that tallies the hours of the time given/donated. The more hours you give, the more hours you get when you need help.

For example, I give Mary a ride to the doctor's office and I wait. Once Mary's home, she banks my hours. The time loads into my account. When I need help, I draw on it and either Mary or another neighbor helps me.

Dear Santa, I'm a nurse. And when we're trained on new software, the trainer is usually thirty years younger and doesn't get that people my age have trouble viewing computer screens. We need 1) training modules integrated into the software, including audio versions for those who learn better via hearing the instructions, plus we need to follow along using a physical work book; 2) industry-wide standards for medical records software, including for terminology, plus a firm future date by which all working software must meet the standard; 3) career tracks and training for computer specialists who will be working with medical software, so they have a clue what docs and nurses are actually doing with patients. Please pass, Santa, pass this on to medical software geeks.

Dear Santa, we need access to professional jobs in our fields, where we are not subject to the same performance review as younger people seeking a promotion and an executive position. The conversation needs to change from 1.0 - we are not qualified and lacking in skills to 2.0 - older workers have excellent skills, experience, and a work ethic. Other countries have age 55+ professional employment policies. The U.S. has nothing except people laid off at the age of 50. Please help us Santa.

If you have a letter for Santa, send to

Carol Marak, aging advocate, 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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