By: Alex Hale ~Staff Writer~
Last Wednesday, Cincinnati City Council passed a large package of motions called Golden Cincinnati, all devoted to helping seniors living in Cincinnati.
Many of these motions are easy solutions to problems that affect the 12 percent of the Cincinnati community who is over 65 years old.
The initiative was sponsored by City Councilmember PG Sittenfeld, who is known best for his work on “Smart Cities” initiatives to advance the city from a technological standpoint.
“The truth is that this initiative will benefit all of us. At a personal level. I can say that both of my parents will turn 70 this year, but I also can tell you that this is the community where my wife and I want to grow old together,” Sittenfeld said.
The initiative was conceived a year ago when Sittenfeld’s office received a number of phone calls from seniors who were having trouble with either the new technology implemented in Cincinnati that was difficult for them to navigate or that crosswalks didn’t allow for enough time for them to cross the street.
The first motion establishes an “Aging and Accessibility Czar” to be designated by the City Manager of Cincinnati as a point person for senior constituents and a vetting agent on all city policies as they pertain to senior issues.
The second motion implements tax incentives to encourage age-friendly multi-unit residential projects.
Considering the large portion of the American populace in the U.S, and Cincinnati area in particular that will be moving over the age of 65 shortly, many cities are projecting a “Silver Tsunami.”
New residential housing developments which are designed for those seniors will help prepare Cincinnati for that approaching time.
The only portion that will come at any cost to the taxpayer is the third motion of the initiative which is essentially a promise of the City Administration and the Fire Department to identify $75,000 for the sake of starting up a community paramedicine program.
The program should allow for healthier outcomes for habitual high-volume EMS users, while still saving taxpayers money overall on the extra costs associated with 911, paramedics and ambulances.
The third motion will give a second button at certain crosswalks for seniors who need more time to safely cross the street.
The fourth motion will provide additional accessibility to the urban core of Cincinnati by increasing handicapped parking in certain areas.
The fifth motion will create a new dashboard to capture data on senior falls at home and the public costs of those falls in order to help the Fire Department use city resources as efficiently as possible and save taxpayers money overall.
The sixth motion provides zoning for housing units reflective of the needs of the aging population.
The seventh motion aims to implement stricter code enforcement for the buildings department to address underlying issues that often lead to chronic violations against seniors trying to age-in-place.
In the eight and final motion, the City of Cincinnati commits to supporting legislation at the state and federal level that helps seniors as part of the cities lobbying efforts.
The motion may also help those living with disabilities who are under the age of 65.
Sittenfeld’s aim with these initiatives is that they will make Cincinnati an even more inclusive city, and provide a better future to all Cincinnatians.