Santa Cruz County earns age-friendly standing amid ‘silver tsunami’ issues

SANTA CRUZ — The so-called silver tsunami of growing older adults has already arrived at Santa Cruz County’s shores, however native leaders say they’re stepping up efforts to deal with the escalating disaster.

The county was lately named an “age-friendly group” by the AARP , a vital step in its work to assist the well being and wellbeing of older residents whereas it continues growth of a Grasp Plan on Getting old.

“The aim of those two complimentary initiatives is to create a group that promotes wholesome growing older for all,” Alicia Morales, Santa Cruz County Grownup and Lengthy Time period Care Division director, stated throughout a presentation to the Board of Supervisors earlier this week. “It’s an formidable county-wide effort and can’t be only a authorities initiative.”

In accordance with Morales, one-third of all county residents will likely be age 60 or older by 2030, which exceeds the already regarding statewide ratio projecting one out of 4 residents, or about 10.8 million folks, to be 60 or older throughout the similar timeframe.

This development is particularly acute within the well being care business, defined Morales, including that about 20% of docs within the Central Coast area are 65 and older. “With our fast-growing senior inhabitants needing larger ranges of care, this presents a public well being problem,” stated Morales.

The framework is centered round eight domains of livability together with housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and data, group helps and well being companies, out of doors areas and buildings and transportation. Based mostly on its distinctive set of challenges, county officers have additionally added emergency preparedness and elder justice to spherical out its listing to 10 priorities.

The board directed the Human Companies Division to hunt the age-friendly standing in Could, after the unique request from 2019 was delayed because of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The county now joins a community of greater than 771 communities in 12 states, representing 100 million folks together with town of Watsonville. Town of Santa Cruz is at the moment within the technique of making use of.

If the county is ready to make progress on its age-friendly targets, Clay Kempf, govt director of the Seniors Council and Space Company on Getting old in Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, says it can mechanically go a great distance towards reaching most of the Grasp Plan for Getting old’s targets.

Kempf and his group have been tapped as a key county companion to develop 5 “daring targets” for the grasp plan: housing for all ages and levels, well being reimagined, caregiving that works, affording growing older and inclusion and fairness, not isolation.

“Authorities can’t do that (alone), non-public business can’t do that alone, nonprofits can’t do it alone. However hopefully by bringing all the group collectively … will make quite a lot of progress in the direction of getting there,” stated Kempf, noting that the age 65 to 84 inhabitants in Santa Cruz County has grown by greater than 80% previously decade – the quickest progress charge within the state.

“The disaster is now; the necessity is going on proper now,” he stated.

Since early 2022, county management, in collaboration with the seniors council, the county’s 4 cities and the 4th and 2nd supervisor districts, have been holding quarterly Grasp Plan for Getting old governance conferences. The group established a 10-member steering committee which is at the moment creating a wants evaluation that can assist determine native priorities together with system enhancements and coverage initiatives.

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