gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 61

A s a society, we ought to view our seniors not as a burden, but as a gift. They have devoted decades of their lives to raising families, participating in the workforce, building communities and serving their country. They still have much to contribute, and are deserving of our respect and care. What can we do to ensure that our cities meet older adults’ needs and they can enjoy quality of life as an integral part of our society? The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified eight areas of focus to guide cities and communities in adapting to the needs of our seniors: • • • • • • • • The “built” environment Housing Community support and health services Transportation Social participation Respect and social inclusion Civic participation and employment Communication others with the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce; Debbie Vasquez, Denise Melroy and other City staff; and senior service providers including Tim Batton of Loma Clara and Ken Tak of Home Instead. Morgan Hill’s local businesses, the Morgan Hill Downtown Association, and community service organizations have also stepped up to help create a community where older adults thrive.    Focus on Wellness We all like the idea of wellness but we don’t always embrace it in our daily lives. To “be well” is more than just diet and exercise. As early as the 1970s, health experts began talking about the seven dimensions of wellness. The Seven Dimensions of Wellness Two years ago, the City of Morgan Hill won designation from the WHO as an Age-friendly City. (The City of Gilroy and Santa Clara County are also designated as Age-friendly entities) Morgan Hill city officials and staff have taken this to heart, community businesses and service organizations have come alongside them, and our seniors stand to benefit from the fruits of their labors. A Fun and Healthy Aging Week From October 8 th through 12 th , the City of Morgan Hill will roll out the red carpet for seniors and their families with its first-ever Healthy Aging Week celebration. The goal of Healthy Aging Week is to connect our seniors with a variety of ways to be active and engaged in community life. It’s an opportunity for them to access local senior services, explore new areas of interest, meet other seniors, and have a good time. The five-day event is made possible through the collab- orative efforts of the City and its Senior Advisory Committee, along with an ad hoc working group known as the Morgan Hill Aging Council, and dozens of senior services providers. Third Annual Senior Resource Fair Healthy Aging Week activities will culminate in the City’s Third Annual Senior Resource Fair on October 12 th . The Fair connects seniors and their family members with City and community services and resources that promote the seven dimensions of wellness (see below). This event is well attended by seniors eager to participate in the community and learn about resources available to them. The idea for Healthy Aging Week was inspired by conversations among John Horner, Brittney Sherman and GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN By nurturing these aspects of wellness, we have our best chance of living productive and happy lives. But for seniors, there’s the added challenge of diminishing physical and mental capacity that comes with aging. They sometimes have to work harder than the rest of us to achieve wellness.  Our seniors are business professionals, community leaders, parents, and grandparents. It’s not unusual to meet a senior who is “retired” from the workforce but just as active in nonprofit and volunteer activities as a full-time worker. Having a sense of purpose is part of wellness. Inviting our seniors to get involved is key. Senior living communities such as Westmont, The Huntington, and The Lodge all have a wait list. Loma Clara Senior Memory Care Center is scheduled to open in 2019. Pacific Hills Manor offers a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility. Housing security is critical wellness. Continuing to seek senior housing solutions is critical. OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 61