Welcome to the July 2008 Seniors Digest!
This month, it’s all about livability! When it comes to planning cities and towns that are great to live in, seniors are among the first to offer wisdom about what makes our communities vibrant and functional for people of every age and ability.
According to many experts on healthy aging, walking is the best exercise of all. So it’s great to hear that the City of Seattle is taking aim at the “Most Walkable City” title! Take a look at the Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan to find out some of the exciting steps that have already taken place and are planned for the future. You can help by completing a brief survey about your walking preferences and suggestions.
The Kirkland Senior Council also participated in a study on “smart growth”—which means planning communities that meet the needs of every citizen in every stage of life. The Council gives their input on changes that residents would like to see. Safety, loneliness, transportation, and affordable housing are among the most frequently raised concerns, reflecting the desire of many older adults to remain active and independent as they age.
Also in this issue…
- Learn about the Washington State Council on Aging
- Find out how to avoid contracting the West Nile Virus—yes, it does occur in our state!
- Save the date for the volunteer-focus “Make a Difference Workshop” on July 16, and September’s Legislative Forum.
- Give your brain a workout with the “Aging in Place” wordfind, highlighting resources to help seniors stay in their own homes
For More Information
Check out SeniorsDigest.org, our national companion website. The Seniors Digest Resource Center is a great place to begin your search for information about issues of interest to seniors and their families.
We hope you will refer to our electronic pages often—to obtain advice, to learn of new and exciting services, and to offer us your constructive feedback.
Read Seniors Digest and tell us what you think. We are here to help.
Michael Miller, Chair
Seattle-King County Advisory Council
on Aging and Disability Services
* More About Paul Niebanck
Pedestrian Advisory Board member Paul Niebanck is currently doing double duty by also serving as a member of the Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group (PMPAG).
Paul describes the advisory group members as people from all walks of life who represent the interests of different groups and concerns. Their job is to ensure that the City creates a plan to meet the needs of all these varied groups. Paul is passionate about his role representing people with disabilities and those who are vulnerable and isolated. Blind from birth, Paul understands the challenges that people with disabilities face in navigating a world designed for cars.
Paul and his wife Linda, whom he describes as one of the "unsung heroes" of the region for her own planning and community-related work, lived in Pioneer Square for 15 years and recently moved to Horizon House on First Hill. Although he says that both his heart and capacity to care were formed as a child in rural West Virginia amid the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, he and his wife are "city people" and wouldn’t live anywhere else.
Immediately upon moving to Seattle, Paul became involved in community action work, and was once referred to as "the godfather of Pioneer Square" for all his efforts on behalf of that neighborhood. He jokes that "community" is one of his many middle names, and he has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the Center for Ethical Leadership.
Paul was a professor at the University of Santa Cruz, Portland State, and the University of Washington. At UW, he helped found an undergraduate degree program in Community and Environmental Planning. One of his former students, also now a teacher, recently wrote him to say how much he had influenced her, and to seek his advice in developing a project for her fifth grade students. The project had students imagine the kind of person they want to be from an ethical perspective and to pair up with an older adult for guidance. Of the life lessons he would share with a 10-year-old boy—or with anyone, for that matter—Paul says, "The best thing I’ve learned is to listen. Everyone and everything wants to be heard."