Seniors are the fastest growing group in the county and are expected to double in number by 2040. At the same time, the population of older adults is becoming more racially, ethnically, and economically diverse, and the county must meet the needs of our active, vital senior residents as well as those who are more vulnerable.
For its efforts to make Montgomery County a place where residents can age, thrive, and contribute to making the county a better, stronger, more inclusive community for everyone, Montgomery County has just earned renewed certification in the AARP/WHO Network of Age-Friendly Communities. The county’s Age-Friendly Advisory Group is comprised of representatives from public and private organizations to oversee the work of ten working groups. They meet regularly to provide updates on their recent activities and future plans. These community leaders provide important input into planning for an age-friendly future designed to meet the changing needs of all county residents, with a focus on our rapidly growing and diverse older population. More information on Age-Friendly Montgomery County is here.
In addition, through a public-private partnership, the county has strengthened its efforts to support and empower caregivers and families experiencing dementia. More information on the Dementia Friendly initiative is here.
Health and Wellness
Maintaining or improving physical, cognitive, and emotional health is critical, especially for seniors. I support programs that promote health and wellness awareness, resources, and activities.
Additional efforts, including workforce training, are needed to provide older adults with coordinated, personalized, community-based help that allows them to age safely and with dignity in their communities.
I support age-in-place Senior Villages to expand opportunity, choice, and care for all older people. Villages are local, often volunteer-led, groups that support community members who choose to stay in their homes. They foster social connections through activities and events and coordinate neighbor-to-neighbor efforts such as help with transportation, groceries, and simple tasks at home.
Senior centers and programming for seniors at community centers provide additional opportunities for fostering social connections and well-being. North Potomac Community Center is a model for multi-cultural centers and should be replicated elsewhere in the county.
Older people may struggle with rising housing costs, health care bills, and diminished savings. The cost of living in Montgomery County can outpace retirement income. But, I believe that after raising their families here, contributing to their neighborhoods, and supporting the local economy, our aging parents, neighbors, and friends deserve the opportunity to stay in Montgomery County and enjoy a safe, secure retirement.
I encourage continued county efforts to protect seniors from maltreatment, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of every type through education, intervention, and prosecution.
I support increased government funding for nonprofit sector efforts to provide physical, financial, and technological safety for older adults, and I would expand efforts to take advantage of all state and federal programs, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy (DALTCP).
To promote both financial security and personal well-being, I encourage expansion of senior employment programs so that our community can benefit from older adults’ lifetimes of experience, and so that more seniors can remain independent and less reliant on public and private assistance.
Transportation and Mobility
I applaud the work of Age-Friendly Montgomery to expand outreach, accessibility, and affordability of public transit for older adults, including efforts to expand transit options like extending free bus service to Saturdays, applying for additional federal funding for the Call-n-Ride service, and recruiting additional volunteer drivers. Their work with DOT to provide ADA compliance at bus stops, extend pedestrian crossing timings, and increase the size of street name signs for improved visibility are efforts that will all improve accessibility for older adults, and their various advertising campaigns are critical for ensuring that older adults are aware of the many transportation options available to them.