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Aging Action Initiative Farewell 2018, Year of the Older Adult in Marin  From AAI Program Director Linda M. Jackson:

When I look at 2019 in my crystal ball, this much is clear: 2019 will be the year to become more intentional about our work for change. Let’s start by talking about what people want as they get older.

In AAI, we know that economic security is key to well being. With enough money, we can have the shelter,food, and healthcare we need. Just a few months ago, Marin Community Foundation staff started hearing from what we might call the canary in the coal mine. MCF grant recipients were reporting a noticeable increase in the trauma and anguish that their clients were experiencing in their daily living. The message was loud and clear: not everyone in Main was safe and sound.  

In this month’s newsletter, MCF’s Shirin Vakharia lays out a compelling explanation about how challenging life can be for lower-income older people in Marin. Shirin called together those working on the frontline with an offer to bring to Marin some of the top thinkers in the state about economic security for older adults. We created a planning committee and put together a powerful morning for February 1 to hear about the larger forces at work, as well as what we can do here in Marin. People are asking for help with housing, food, transportation, and other essentials of daily life. We need to have a stronger infrastructure of care. Sign up for the Summit and make plans to join us.

Here’s something else in the crystal ball for 2019: a worsening employment crisis across the county. For years Marin has experienced a housing crisis. Rising rents in 2018 exacerbated the situation for the thousands of older renters in Marin. The lack of new housing to meet the demand caused by employment growth in Marin meant that local workers have been experiencing a growing commute crisis. That dreaded commute means that Marin now has an employment crisis.

Turnover, lack of experience, vacancies – each one of our agencies and organizations has been impacted by the fact that local workers cannot find affordable places to live in Marin.

The quickest way to add new housing is for homeowners to add a junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU) to their home. AAI and the Commission on Aging are sponsoring a JADU Expo on Thursday, February 7, 9–11am, at Whistlestop. Please share with your clients the flyer about this opportunity to meet with architects, builders, lenders and others who can answer all their questions about how to add a unit to make additional income or house a caregiver. With your help, local homeowners can add thousands of small units in Marin, helping homeowners earn extra income and local workers find a place to live.

At AAI, we’re taking stock for 2019. We are speaking up for the well-being of every older person in Marin. Start this conversation at your work with your colleagues, and bring it home to AAI at our convening in spring. We have a lot to talk about.

2019: change is on the way.

~  Linda