The guest opinion by John Torres (“In the debate, don’t forget our seniors,” Daily Camera, Aug. 12) addressed housing in Boulder and accommodating more residents while maintaining diversity, affordability and quality of life. He urged us not to forget the seniors who have made this community what it is today. When discussing housing for our rapidly growing population of seniors, we must also remember to consider their transportation options. As John mentioned, many seniors don’t drive. Where people live directly impacts how they will access grocery stores, health care and community resources.
As we expand housing in Boulder for aging older adults, low-income families, and people with disabilities, we also need to expand transportation options. Accessible, affordable and available on-demand transportation such as Via’s paratransit service is consistently at or near the top of services for which local aging programs receive the most requests. Without adequate transportation, those who wish to age in place are at risk of increased isolation and lack of access to health care and community, and they may be forced into costly and premature institutionalization.
As individuals age, each person will have a preference for how and where they wish to live. Some may choose congregate housing like Golden West; some may choose living with friends or relatives; and some may downsize into more modest quarters. Most people say they wish to age in place in their own homes — all want to maintain their independence.
Progressive policymakers and planners need to look at how to retrofit our communities with transportation options, housing, and land-use patterns as a comprehensive approach so that people keep their independence as long as possible.
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Executive director, Via Mobility Services