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Engaging at Every Age: Celebrate Older Americans Month May 20

May 1, 2018 – News

Have you ever pondered whether or not Juneau is your “final destination”? Have you ever weighed the pros and cons of what that means – vibrant community, little traffic, easy access to the outdoors vs. dark falls, wet springs, the high cost of living? Many people in Juneau have decided, yes, Juneau is a good place to grow old, and some of them are putting in community service time to figure out how to make the choice to stay easier for those who are still on the fence.

Consider this: Southeast Alaska is aging rapidly. According to the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development and Rain Coast Data, one-third of Southeast Alaskans will be over the age of 55 by 2020, compared to just 12 percent in that age range in 1990.

For decades, the City and Borough of Juneau has been looking at what it takes to support an older population in the areas of health care, housing and transportation. The Assembly created the Juneau Commission on Aging (JCOA) in 1985, an advisory commission that now has nine voting members. Part of what the commission does is conduct a senior-focused survey to get the pulse of the seniors who live here, and to assess gaps in ensuring seniors in Juneau feel safe and have access to food, adequate housing, healthcare and social integration. These senior surveys are created every 10 years and the 2020 version is currently being planned. The JCOA is committed to the improved quality of life for Juneau’s seniors.

JCOA is holding an event on Sunday, May 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Juneau Pioneer Home to highlight May being Older Americans Month. The theme is, “Engage at Every Age,” and everyone is welcome to attend to enjoy snacks, flowers and, hopefully, some sourdough stories. During the event, JCOA plans to honor Juneau’s centenarians. The Mayor’s Office, Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s Offices, the Juneau Legislative Delegation and Juneau Assembly members will be invited.

JCOA is also planning a “senior listening” event in the near future, in conjunction with Juneau Public Libraries and local historical societies, to record stories of life in Juneau that the senior community has to share.

If you are a senior reading this and have recommendations for the JCOA, please contact JCOA Chair Eileen Hosey at eileen.hosey@ccsjuneau.com.