As board members of Life Plan Humboldt, we applaud the Grand Jury for recommending steps to accommodate the growing number of older adults in our community ("The Grand Jury Weighs In," June 23). It is a great time to leverage state funds for affordable housing and the need is critical. And yes, unhoused seniors need emergency beds and services designed exclusively for them. We agree with the Grand Jury on the need for the Elder and Vulnerable Adult Services Team to continue to grow. All older people, particularly once they cannot drive, are at risk for social isolation. Without strong social supports, they may be vulnerable to physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse.
Eighty percent of people 75 or older in Humboldt County own their own homes. Few of these homes are adapted for reduced mobility, putting us seniors at risk for falls. As we get older it is more difficult to maintain our homes, which can also result in unsafe conditions. The nonprofit Life Plan Humboldt is a grassroots effort that will give these homeowners an opportunity to downsize, trading our homes to become members of a community designed to promote safety, independence and social connections. This would free up housing for working families, addressing another problem facing Humboldt County. It will take a multi-pronged approach to ensure the expanding senior population is cared for and help older adults remain connected and contributors to the well-being of the whole community.
Ann Lindsay and JoAnn Schuch, Life Plan Humboldt, McKinleyville