I is for Incentives
In our society where becoming a senior citizen is not a 'badge of honor,' how can businesses, vendors, governments and others demonstrate through action (rather than just words) a desire to respect the citizens who are now in their older years? I believe Incentives to make life easier for our seniors is one way to correct the current conception of seniors as some how - less - than everyone else.
Here are a few incentives that could be or have been made available to seniors.
- Shopping discounts - grocery stores, gym memberships, movie tickets, vacation travel, vehicle purchases. These are good and probably available in some areas of the country already, but the efforts should not be limited to encouragements to spend money - which these are.
- More walking paths and side walks in communities. I moved from a planned city into a local suburb - that isn't well planned. I never ran out of side walks in my former neighborhood - I always run out in my current neighborhood. This suggestion is good for all citizens.
- Book Mobiles to make regular visits to senior living facilities. When I was a kid, the Book Mobiles from local libraries visited our apartment development. What a wonderful way of keeping the written word in communities where seniors frequent - thereby reaching some citizens who don't drive and don't have access to good public transportation.
- Hospitals could provide senior wings for the elderly. One hospital in a neighboring county has a senior wing! I understand from others that it isn't well managed, but what a great idea.
- Big Brother-like programs for seniors now in nursing homes - something like Adopt-a-Senior or Adopt-a-Grandparent for local young families - expose children and seniors to each other. Seniors often outlive many of their family support members and are isolated. Children can be taught from a young age to enjoy and respect the elderly. Both benefit from the effort.
- There are some rare nursing home and child care combinations in my state. Expand that program. The facilities are divided but connected for easy of visiting. Managed well, this could be a boon to both age groups.
- Build more neighborhoods that allow for cross-generational residential structures. More mother-in-law suites, more relaxed coding of land to allow for senior structures on family owned property. Why not encourage the development of extended families!
- More volunteer and job opportunities for seniors - let those who want to work have an equal chance in the candidate selection process - age discrimination is against the law but humans are inventive creatures and can easily find ways around that law.