It's time to advance Atlanta, together.
Peter on Longevity
For Atlanta to truly become an inclusive and prosperous city we must fully address the needs of our senior population. We work hard to attract new residents, but do not do enough to care for those who have established Atlanta as their home and are growing older.
I envision Atlanta as a city where those 65 and older can be healthy, productive, and purposeful. Too often the conversation around senior wellbeing ends at healthcare. This is a crucial issue, but it’s not the only one. We need policies focused on transportation, housing, jobs, and livability for seniors. We need to focus on integrating and invigorating our seniors.
Among other actions, I believe we must:
- Make our streets more senior-friendly and increase access to public transit. Atlantans outlive their ability to drive by 7-10 years. And elder pedestrians and cyclists often feel endangered or overwhelmed by traffic. The need for public transit options, protected bike lanes, and additional sidewalks is clear.
- Reduce isolation. Those aging at home, outside of facilities often feel cut off from the world. One great way to combat this is to identify resources to train seniors in the latest social media so that they can build virtual communities. I would also look into increasing the amount of senior-friendly social and entertainment options, building on the success of the annual “Senior Ball.”
- Empower seniors in the job market and community. I will create or support programs that help match those 65 and older with work, volunteer, and leadership opportunities. Many within our elder community have invaluable life experience, knowledge, and energy that we waste if we do not help them find a new calling. These programs can enrich non-profits, businesses, and schools while improving happiness and well-being among seniors who derive a sense of fulfillment from these new undertakings. It’s all part of my larger plan to grow the number of job training programs we have in Atlanta by five to ten times.
- Create a more efficient emergency response line. Studies show that about 80% of 911 calls made by seniors can be handled over the phone by well-trained responders. This can be facilitated through a dedicated helpline. Los Angeles uses a similar policy to help cut down on the number of fire trucks and ambulances unnecessarily sent out into the city. The program saves them over $1 million per year. We should explore similar options.
- Improve and expand affordable, practical senior housing. More and more, seniors wish to age at home. Unfortunately, they spend about 50% of their income on average on rent. I will create incentives for developers that specialize in senior apartment complexes that emphasize affordability and a sense of community. I will also look for opportunities to enforce housing code that makes it easy for older Atlantans to stay at home such wider doorways or step entries.