LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today approved a set of recommendations aimed at helping older adults keep their homes, deal with health problems and find ways to engage with other community members, as part of a broad initiative to improve their lives.
The county's Age-Friendly Action Plan offers ideas ranging from assistance with rent and repairs to mobile technology labs to train seniors. It suggests turning parks and libraries into age- and dementia-friendly centers where older adults can get access to a range of public and private resources, including information on employment and volunteer opportunities.
Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis co-authored the motion to adopt the plan's recommendations.``With a growing older adult population, we must prepare our communities for the future of aging in Los Angeles County,'' Solis said.
``By uniting L.A. County, the city of Los Angeles and the entire region in this effort, we will create an age-friendly future for all of our residents.''In 2000, older adults made up 9.7 percent of the county population. By 2030, that total is expected to nearly double, to 18.2 percent. The number of California seniors living with Alzheimer's disease is also expected to roughly double from 2010 levels by 2030.
The United States spends about 18 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, according to 2016 estimates by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, highlighting the importance of keeping older adults healthy and active.
The action plan covers strategies in the areas of transportation; housing; social participation; civic participation and employment; communication and information; community support and health services; outdoor spaces and buildings; and emergency preparedness and resilience.``As we age, most of us hope to remain in our homes and communities for as long as possible,'' Kuehl said.
``This means we must ensure that our communities are age-friendly and include walkable streets, easy access to grocery stores and services, as well as opportunities for older adults to stay engaged through volunteering or other community activities.''Some recommendations lay out specific plans, like expanding an existing handyworker program to focus on medium- and low-income older adults who can provide services. Others present more strategic ideas, such as encouraging the development of alternative housing, like co-ops or multi-generational living arrangements, to cut costs and mitigate social isolation for aging residents.
The action plan is the result of a cooperative effort by Los Angeles County and city officials and is designed to guide efforts over the next three years.
The board directed Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services personnel to come up with a plans for implementing and tracking the success of each recommendation and to reach out to other cities to coordinate their efforts.