This year, the former and first woman mayor of Cupertino, Barbara Rogers, is co-chairing the 6th Annual Silicon Valley Positive Aging Forum on Sep. 30, 2014 in Cupertino, which focuses on allowing the elderly comfort and security in their own homes and their own community. Cupertino is a close-knit community, but Mrs. Rogers noticed that when the elderly begin having trouble moving around in their houses as they age, there were few programs and services to help them to adapt their surroundings, and many elderly residents had no choice but to move to nursing homes.
The Positive Aging Forum: Design Challenge for Aging in Place identifies the problems and hopes to help create solutions. Cupertino housing is mostly designed for working people and families. Barbara suggests that we need to build some one story homes and smaller apartments that are senior friendly. It is possible to modify existing homes include widening showers and doorways to allow for ease of movement. Seniors need better transportation services that allow for distance and also disabilities. Overall, the forum is designed to better integrate seniors into the Cupertino community.
Attendees will hear valuable presentations and a “brainstorm” of ideas to improve “aging at home”. Collaborating together, guests will hear and create possible solutions for these important issues. Mrs. Rogers mentioned that the elderly population will continue to grow, due to better healthcare and longer life expectancy of today. “We need to plan for our future “, says Mrs. Rogers.
When asked about how Cupertino was different during her time as our mayor, she immediately responded, “It’s larger.” We must think and act together as an entire community rather than segmenting the issues that are faced by the elderly. The larger the community gets, the more people we will have who will need help to enjoy a more comfortable senior life. She also describes the impact of construction. “The question is how much housing do we construct, and where.” Because the majority of homes are meant for families with children, that’s the kind of houses that are built, and this reduces the availability for smaller, and one-level homes for seniors.
To raise awareness and start the important discussion of the issue is the main focus of this forum. It will also hopefully facilitate change, as the community will unite around common goals on comfort rather than expansion. Mrs. Rogers hopes through shared understanding Cupertino residents will work together.
Mrs. Rogers also wants to involve the younger generation – today’s teens and young adults – in this forum, but expressed regret that most would have a hard time thinking ahead to such a distant future and be able to relate to the topic. The forum hopes to promote these ideas where the changes begin to be made in more households and in community to benefit both the current seniors and for future generations.
If you wish to find out more about this year’s Silicon Valley Positive Aging Forum, please go to this link to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-silicon-valley-positive-aging-forum-design-challenge-aging-in-place-registration-12013975123
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sanjita Jain is a student at Cupertino High School in Cupertino. She enjoys creative writing, Biology, and Mathematics. Sanjita is the President of the Writing Club. She thrives in an environment that allows her to use her organizational skills to working with a team.