At the December 13, 2011 Los Altos City Council meeting, the council discussed and accepted the Senior Commission 2012 Goals and Priorities.
Projects that could have “small costs”
1. Benches at bus stops
2. Low-cost taxi contracts
3. Increased pedestrian time at traffic lights. Engineering said this could be done for $200.
Sounds good. Everyone will like the bus benches, and we all like to take our time in the crosswalk.
Highest cost projects
- Repair sidewalks (only for existing sidewalks and asphalt paths)
- Increase lighting, especially downtown ( replace bulbs promptly, prune trees)
- Consult “aging experts” when finalizing the Community Center Master Plan
- Increase educational programs
- Update Senior Center
Safe sidewalks and lights downtown are good for all of us.
On the other hand, we’re pretty sure we don’t want to see city funds used for senior “education” and senior center “updates.” Fortunately, council discussion directed the commission to explore no-cost programs like Stanford University’s Fall Prevention Program which helps teach seniors how to avoid dangerous falls. We’re even more certain we don’t want the city to pay the fees for a so-called “aging expert” when finalizing the Community Center Master Plan. Why not a “child development expert” too? We’re going to need rooms with really low countertops and toddler furniture.
Recommendations at no cost
- Education of the community, especially seniors, can be offered on financing options for purchasing/selling a home, reverse mortgages, how to find safe, reliable caregiver services and home repair assistance. This can be arranged by the Senior Commission.
- The neighborhood transportation program used by the Say Hi group is willing to help other neighborhoods set up a program. The Commission would not be public advocates nor assist, but could encourage the Los Altos Town Crier to publicize the program.
- A group of graduate students in Gerontology are in the process of researching emergency preparedness programs for smaller communities that include senior awareness and assistance in disasters. If a viable plan is found, it will be presented to the Council.
- Information on senior-ready construction has been forwarded to the City Planning Department. It contains unique, recent construction ideas that can make it easier to age in place safely.
- The City is already allowing additional condos to be built in the downtown area.
Editorial Comment: City’s Seal of Provider Approval?
Do we want local government in the business of giving the “seal of approval” to certain (presumably favored) “vendors” and not to others? We’re pretty sure we don’t like having our elders being steered to selected real estate agents, mortgage brokers, caregiver agencies, and home repair businesses. We will be avoiding these vendors, and we’ve instructed our kids to avoid these local “approved” vendors when our time comes. Go get word of mouth in the ‘hood and shop around on Bay Area Consumers’ Checkbook.