Laura Newland, executive director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

Happy spring! Last month, Mayor Muriel Bowser released her Fair Shot Budget for fiscal year 2019, a commitment to all Washingtonians that D.C. is a city where no one gets left behind.

The Fair Shot budget is all about investing in our people—those who’ve made this city what it is today, and those who are paving the way for tomorrow. And because our older residents are the core of this city, this budget reflects the Mayor’s commitment to ensuring that Washington, D.C. is the best city in the world to age!

So what can our seniors expect in fiscal year 2019?

Support Community Living

We’ll help more of our older residents continue living in their own homes and communities thanks to a $4.5 million investment into our Safe at Home program. This program addresses safety concerns in and around the homes of our older residents and adults with disabilities by providing preventative in-home safety adaptations and exterior security cameras.

Since we launched this program in January 2016, we’ve completed more than 1,000 projects, from installing grab bars, to safety railings, stair lifts, to bath tub cuts. Thanks to the Mayor’s continued investments, we are making sure more and more of our residents are able to live and thrive in their own homes and communities.

And thanks to $28 million invested for 50 new permanent supportive housing units for senior women, we’re making sure our older residents have a place to call home, in the community—where they want to be and where they belong.

Promote Living Well

Because we know that aging well means living well, access to health, wellness, and recreation to keep you active and engaged is a priority for this Administration. This means capital investments in all of our Senior Wellness Centers. In addition to the $4 million committed to refreshing our wellness sites, the Mayor has committed an additional $1.5 million to expand the Model Cities and Congress Heights Senior Wellness Centers.  We’ll also be investing in a new Senior Wellness Center in Ward 8!

But we also know how important it is to have more high quality wellness programs in more places, so that no matter where you live, you can join a fitness class, group activity, or social event. Thanks to the Mayor’s annual commitment of $350,000 to YMCA’s Fit & Well program, we are making it easier for you to stay active and engaged, wherever you are.

Living well also means being able to move around the city, get to your appointments, shop, and socialize. Thanks to the Mayor’s $2 million increase for the popular Transport DC service, Metro Access customers will be able to do so with more $5 taxi cab rides.

Care for the Caregivers

Whether you’re a caregiver, a former caregiver, a future caregiver, or will be cared for, chances are that you will benefit from more caregiver resources and supports. We’re excited about a partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to provide therapeutic, respite, and support services all under one roof for all of the caregivers in the District.

Here in D.C., we’re committed to providing care for the caregivers, because you are the soul of our city. You are the reason our older adults and people with disabilities are able to continue being a part of our communities. Thanks to the Mayor’s support and our strong partnership with DPR, we will all be working together on plans to build a state-of-the-art caregiver complex.

This was just a snapshot of the investments made to support our older residents. My team and I are excited to talk to you more about what’s planned for FY 2019. Join us for one of our budget town halls, and be a part of the conversation around what the FY 2019 budget will mean for you. To attend, reach out to us at 202-724-5626.

When I say that D.C. is the best city in the world to age, it’s because we truly have the best seniors in the world! And it’s also because we have a Mayor who sees you and who knows that investments in our older residents are investment in our communities. Thank you for all of the contributions you’ve made and continue to make, every day.  I’ll see you out in the community!

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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