When the Longevity Revolution Hits Your Town: A Gray Wave Hits Home

Changes in cities over the next two decades will be driven by the “longevity revolution” as the ranks of US adults over 60 soar and many more lifespans stretch past the century mark. While these changes present challenges to cities that are ill-equipped or unprepared, they also serve as a wake-up call to tap into the skill and expertise of older adults. These elders represent a key to the solutions, whether it’s through volunteer work, sharing professional experience or helping families with childcare.

When the longevity revolution hits your town: a three-part series

By Cecily O’Connor, RedwoodAge.com

Stella Gerson rides a Whistlestop shuttle to a senior center in San Rafael, Calif. (RedwoodAge.com)

It’s no problem for Stella Gerson to walk down to the bus stop. Getting home is the hard part. "I have to go up a hill to my house," said the 89-year-old San Anselmo, Calif., resident, who suffers from macular degeneration, a disease that blurs her vision. In Northern California where Gerson lives, transportation is one of several pressing needs for a rapidly graying population.

When the Longevity Revolution Hits Your Town: Neighbors Saving Neighborhoods

By Cecily O’Connor, RedwoodAge.com
For almost a year, boomer Tricia Webb has enjoyed an automatic door at the front entrance of her San Francisco apartment building. She fought hard for that door. Webb, who sits in a wheelchair, lobbied her landlord for the door for five years, but her requests were denied due to cost. Tricia Webb led an effort to get an electric door that helps her neighbors, too. (CLC)

The effort finally gained momentum over a year ago when she became part of the Community Living Campaign (CLC), a group that support seniors and adults with disabilities. The CLC-sponsored a bake-sale that was attended by district supervisors and other civic leaders. The event "embarrassed (the landlord) so bad," that he eventually green-lighted the door, Webb said. 
And that automatic entry has not only made Webb’s life easier, but also helped her neighbors, including parents with strollers.

When the Longevity Revolution Hits Your Town: Baby Steps on a Long Road

By Cecily O’Connor, RedwoodAge.com
As life spans lengthen, cities are trying to be all things to all age groups. But they’re just scratching the surface. 
Committees, studies and action plans are baby steps on a long road toward coordinating services and resources before a crisis sets in. The down U.S. economy is adding to the mess. If you took a tour of Northern California, you’d see a microcosm of what’s happening elsewhere. Big cities like Sacramento are better prepared, thanks, in part, to a downtown ripe for redevelopment. Others like San Rafael, the county seat of the nation’s richest county, are watching new housing proposals dry up as the economy contracts.