Our fastest growing population in Novato is seniors (over 70 years of age). We must prepare to meet the needs of our increasing senior population. The two most important areas that we need to address for seniors are housing and transportation.
As the initiator of the Housing and Services Commission which was eliminated by the Council on a 4:1 vote (with Eklund dissenting), I know that the City needs to do more to focus on providing affordable senior housing, especially in the area of assisted living facilities. Our seniors on fixed incomes need to know that we value having them in our community and want to continue to benefit from the contributions that seniors make to Novato.
Recently, I supported the City of Novato applying for the designation as “Age-Friendly Novato” which is part of a network of communities recognized for best practices in providing for the safety, health, and independence of all citizens of all ages. The Age-Friendly best practices are sponsored by the World Health Organization and by AARP in the US.
Age-Friendly planning often focuses on older citizens because of the many challenges and disabilities they have in later life, but we find that the same accommodations can benefit other citizens. For example, curb cuts that help an older citizen in a wheelchair will help a mother with a stroller just as much.
Transportation for seniors is not as easily solved. As part of the Age-Friendly Novato designation, we will be looking at our local efforts and working with the current transit providers to enhance transportation for our growing seniors population so that seniors are not imprisoned in their homes.