George Burns once said: You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.
Getting older is becoming an epidemic. About 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States and by 2035, people 65 and older will outnumber those under 18, a quarter of the population will be 60 or older by 2031. These trends will challenge and transform us in ways we are hardly prepared for. Housing, healthcare, the economy, the workforce, design of cities, homes, and transportation will be impacted.
After climate change, population aging is the second most important phenomenon that we will have to figure out a way to address in the 21st century. It’s called the “silver tsunami” – the fact that so many people are getting to experience old age, and doing so in better health, is thought to be one of society’s greatest achievements. Yet there are still many who are not having a good experience aging for a variety of reasons.
Ten years ago, the Tualatin Aging Task Force came together as an ad hoc committee to address these very issues that affect the aging population – housing insecurity, food insecurity, mobility and transportation, isolation, livability, health, and wellness. We asked, “What kind of community do I want to age in?” That’s why we do what we do to advocate for all of us in our community as we get older. It’s not that we can stop aging but we do want to age in place and age well.
We have developed a partnership with the City and all its departments, along with Metro, TriMet and Washington County, and our elected state and congressional representatives. TriMet has asked to have one of their staff sit on the committee to work with us on their Transportation Forward Together Plan. We are represented on the City’s Housing Equity Committee and Washington County’s Regional Transportation Plan, plus the City’s 2040 committee 4 years ago, CORA, urban redevelopment committee, in 2022, and the recent Parks bond committee. In the past 6+ years the Task Force has been included in a variety of focus groups and consultations around topics of interest and planning in our community.
The Tualatin Aging Task Force is a small but very strong committee. We are always seeking new members, from high school age to retiree, and new voices willing to step up and work together for our older population. Age isn’t a criteria to be on the Task Force – your perspective, your input and insight, your questions, your sense of community, your voice is. We meet the second Monday of each month, 3:00 pm-4:00 pm, at the Juanita Pohl Center. Come join us. We make a difference.
Our tagline is: “What’s good for seniors is good for the whole community.”