Aging and Health

In recent years DC has experienced significant growth in the number of adults aged 60 and older who will face unique challenges that we must be ready to meet. Nothing has exposed the challenges older adults face more than the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues like social isolation, food insecurity, affordable housing, limited financial resources, and lack of transportation were prominent. We must continue to develop innovative, cross- cutting approaches to better support our older community members.

 

I’ll work to:

 

  • Advocate for a dedicated Council Committee on Aging. Our current city council doesn’t have a dedicated committee on aging, and issues facing older adults are folded under the purview of the Committee on Housing and Executive Administration. Seniors deserve dedicated attention with the establishment of a dedicated oversight committee.

  • Help older adults age in place, whether that’s in their homes or within their communities. Controlling rents, access to programs like Safe at Home, and investing in senior housing will help seniors stay connected to the communities, neighbors, and programs they love.

  • DC is a car-centric culture that, in general, is not ideally planned for aging. Many of our neighborhoods are not walking distance to necessities like groceries and retailers, forcing older adults and most of us to rely on cars to get the things we need. And unfortunately, during the pandemic, communities saw many bus routes reduced and canceled, leading to further isolation of our older resident population. Continued investment in transit accessibility for older adults must be a priority; improving and developing low-cost, flexible, environmentally friendly transportation options is an essential step in this process.

  • Champion age-friendly street designs that would make city neighborhoods easier for older adults to navigate. Walking around the community is an important health option but can be especially dangerous for older adults. Many of our neighborhoods have sidewalks, but the quality of sidewalks and lack of age-friendly street design present barriers for both older adults and people with disabilities. We must advocate for safe sidewalks, intersections, bike routes, and roadways, and intentionally design infrastructure to slow down vehicle traffic and increase pedestrian safety to keep our older pedestrians safe. 

  • Support expanding senior centers across the city. Like my New Deal for Public Education platform, my vision is that senior centers would be facilities centered within the community that foster intergenerational bonding and where seniors can access various services, such as fitness classes, learning opportunities, health and wellness checks, volunteerism, and food distribution.