This month’s column is a continuation of the June column, “Mobility Issues Related to the Aging Population.” In 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report on aging and disabilities. It stated that, at that time, nearly 40% or 15.7 million people age 65 and older had at least one disability. The report concluded that MOBILITY is the most common disability among older Americans. Difficulty with independent living was the second most cited disability. Five years later, can you imagine what the percentage is?
As was discussed in the previous column, mobility includes a variety of things:
• sidewalks wide enough for two people to walk side by side, for people with walkers, strollers, in motorized wheelchairs, whether in the downtown core or in the neighborhoods;
• well-lit intersections with clear signage and markings for crossing;
• having a service like Ride Connection for on-demand transportation;
• extended bus service to travel outside of Tualatin;
• a circulator bus service/shuttle to reach those neighborhoods and areas that TriMet doesn’t.
If an older person doesn’t feel safe walking on the sidewalk, crossing the street or having the ability to get from point A to point B, they become isolated and less engaged in their community. When this happens, it interferes with a person’s ability to live independently and their health and well-being.
Change doesn’t come easily or quickly and we have a ways to go, but be assured the issues and concerns (see above list) are being heard by our city leaders and staff. The City of Tualatin, Metro, Washington County Transportation, Clackamas County Transportation, TriMet and Ride Connection are all involved in conversations and work studies to develop an updated Transportation/Pedestrian Plan. Our city departments of Planning, Operations and Public Works are very invested in the future of our community. You can go to the city website, www.tualatinoregon.gov, and in ‘Search’ on upper right corner of the home page, type in Transportation Policy & Planning, and you will see all the projects currently in progress or being considered.
The Aging Task Force is diligent in their own research and working with all the entities to ensure that the senior community has a place at the table and is in on the discussion. We are very serious about our advocacy for Tualatin’s older population and finding solutions for the issues that we face as we age.
Attend a Meeting!
Be part of the discussion and part of the solution. Join the Aging Task Force at their monthly meeting, the second Monday of each month, 3 p.m., at the Juanita Pohl Center. As always, any questions, comments, concerns, please contact [email protected].