First, we will see these State level trends here in Newberry as well, which means Newberry needs to begin to prepare to be able to take care of its seniors.
Second, humans are all projected to live longer and be active longer. While this creates challenges, it also creates a number of opportunities
Third, it will create special demands upon the city to become elder-friendly in physical access, support of businesses that serve seniors and provision of city services in ways that are helpful to those facing physical limitations.
Specifically, we should be, and these are in no particular order:
First, review our zoning codes to assist people to age at home.
Third, increase active recreational programs for seniors. Helping everyone be healthy, including our seniors, benefits them and benefits the community.
Fourth, encourage expansion of local volunteer programs. Seniors represent a tremendous talent pool that can help build a better Newberry. Government can’t and shouldn’t do it all. If we want a great community, we all have to pitch in. Peer care is an emerging form of volunteerism which we should encourage.
Fifth, study emerging technologies which will assist the elderly to age at home and see which of these, if any, we could provide through our Fire Department.
Sixth, we should convene a meeting of seniors, experts on the elderly, housing developers, recreation specialists and other local businesses to develop a strategic plan to ensure seniors in our community can have a high quality of life and continue to contribute to the community.
These are my concerns and ideas. They stem from watching my grandfather grow old and unable to live out his remaining days at his home. I’d like to partner local senior citizens with high school students for both their benefits. I want to work on bringing a bus service to Newberry to help their mobility, but most of all, I’d like to hear your ideas! Please, join this important conversation. Help me understand how best to help our elders!