Countywide effort underway to support growing aging population

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- As San Diego's aging population continues to grow dramatically, a countywide effort is underway to ensure communities can support senior citizens for decades to come.

It's called the Age Well Initiative, and it tackles five priorities:

  • Health and community support
  • Housing
  • Social participation
  • Transportation
  • Dementia-friendly

County officials say the aging population is its fastest-growing demographic.

In 2010 there were 600,000 people 55 and older in San Diego County. By 2030, officials estimate that number will double to more than 1.2 million people.

"There is a call-for-action, and the county is doing something about it. Through these projects we intend to create a more age-friendly San Diego for its residents," said Meredith Morgenroth, Director of Social and Wellness Services at Jewish Family Service.

Jewish Family Service (JFS) is one of several partners in the Age Well Initiative.

They already provide a multitude of free and low-cost services for seniors.

The Balboa Avenue Older Adult Center offers day-rates of $27 which includes a hot meal.

Willie and Linda Thibodeaux say they're grateful for the affordable service. Linda is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, and Willie is her caregiver.

"Being a senior is God-sent because you lived a life, a pretty long life," said Willie. "But issues come along with that."

The couple is on a fixed income and currently living with their daughter to be able to afford San Diego.

The Age Well Initiative included two years of planning and is now being implemented. Communities could see more mixed-use villages complete with housing and services.

"It's going to take all of us to pitch in and support this population," said Morgenroth.

JFS says they continue to grow and branch out with new programs as needs grow and change.

To learn more, get help or get involved, you can visit the JFS website or call (858) 637-3210.

 

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