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
Community support and health services
Respect and social inclusion
Civic participation and employment
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.