Aging on the Rock – a continuing discussion

Senior Couple With 80+ people in attendance, the Aging on the Rock forum held on May 16th was a great start to an important conversation.  The focus of the event was how the Mercer Island community can help our Senior population age healthy and happy.  The results of the 2013 Senior Advisory Board and Senior Foundation survey were shared.

The topics touched on in the survey included transportation, quality of life and health issues. It’s encouraging that the 227 respondents who returned surveys reported overwhelmingly that they feel safe in the Mercer Island community. 63% reported they feel safe in public spaces. 73% said they feel safe in their homes. Only 7% responded that they have trouble crossing the streets.

In addition, Mercer Island Seniors are tech savvy. 83% use email and 88% have a cell phone.

Transportation concerns centered around transitioning out of driving and having access to dependable public transportation. 28% of respondents were highly concerned about public transportation off the island. 27% were also highly concerned about public transportation on the island itself. With possible cuts to Metro service, the wait time for Eastlink to be built across I-90 nearing 10 years, and the potential toll on I-90, those concerns are understandable. Information was shared with attendees on how to contact our elected officials regarding Metro cuts and the I-90 toll. The Senior Shuttle on Mercer Island garnered discussion, and there is talk of setting up a sub-committee to explore more options for utilizing this shuttle for more shopping opportunities.

Communication within the local Senior population has good coverage. The Mercer Island Reporter keeps island Seniors informed. 23% shared that they get their information on Mercer Island activities from this newspaper. A close second, at 22%, is the Mercer Island Parks and Rec Guide. Below is a graph showing the top communication sources used by Mercer Island Seniors.

Communication Sources used by Mercer Island Seniors
Communication Sources used by Mercer Island Seniors

Senior Safety in the home, home upkeep and helping local home-bound seniors was another topic which garnered quite a bit of discussion. Charities which provide yard and home repair services, like Catholic Community Services, were mentioned during the forum. The Mercer Island Timebank pilot was brought up. For local home-bound seniors, meals can be provided by Sunday Suppers and Meals on Wheels (contact, Jeannette Eggebrecht, (206)275-7841). Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) does provide Senior Well Check visits – Betsy Zuber is the MIYFS contact. She can be reached at (206)275-7752 to request a visit.

The end result of this first Aging on the Rock forum is that the line of communication regarding Senior issues in our community have been opened up. If you would like more information regarding help for Seniors, the results of the Senior Survey, or the Mercer Island Senior Advisory Board, please contact Cindy Goodwin at (206)275.7749 or cindy.goodwin@mercergov.org. The Senior Foundation of Mercer Island is planning on hosting its 5th Senior Resource Fair in the Fall of 2013. Stay tuned for details!

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