WLW-YesterdayIheardafactthatfrightenedme_10B77-seniors_3In 10 years we will have twice the number of seniors in Thousand Oaks than we have today.

Think about it—double the number of people at the Goebel Senior Center, twice the amount of people signed up for Social Security and double the amount of seniors needing information, resources and services from our city.

Here’s another one for you:

By 2020 Thousand Oaks will have more people over 65 than under 18. There’s plenty of people watching out for the under-18 crowd—parents, guidance counselors, teachers, coaches and, of course, Disney. But who’s looking out for the over-65 gang?

They say that “experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.” Ask any person over the age of 65 if they’ve encountered a situation for which they weren’t prepared. It may be as simple as how to sign up for Medicare or as complicated as how to make certain they don’t outlive their money.

What if I told you there was an organization that has been right here in Thousand Oaks for more than 26 years whose only job is to advocate for older adults in our community? They are here to help the rich, the poor, the employed, the unemployed, the retired, the sick, the healthy, the educated and the uneducated. The fact is that at one point or another, everyone over the age of 65 will need help with something.

The organization is called the Thousand Oaks Council on Aging. Yes, we know it needs a better name. But put that aside for a moment.

Professor John M. Richardson said, “When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: Those who let it happen, those who make it happen and those who wonder what happened.”

The Thousand Oaks Council on Aging is in the “make it happen” camp. About 18 months ago, working with a dedicated team of volunteers, they developed a set of recommendations for the City Council to champion services for its aging citizens in the coming decade. It’s called SAMP, or the Senior Adult Master Plan. Think of it like the set of master plans for building a house. It is the architecture for a rich set of programs to meet the future needs of seniors in our community.

The plan covers six areas— housing, health, transportation, recreation, volunteerism and community resources.

I will say this for the program: You would be amazed at the creative ideas that are being put forth. You would also be amazed at the amount of work required to get our city ready for the growing mass of seniors.

September kicked off a new year for SAMP to implement a host of new action steps approved by the City Council. Members on the implementation teams will actively work in the community with businesses, service organizations and senior facilities.

Why not bring your personal or professional expertise to a challenging, first-of-a-kind opportunity to help your city rethink its future? We can’t expect others to do for us what we won’t do ourselves. So come join SAMP members for a kickoff breakfast on Thurs. Nov. 4 at 8:30 am.

To RSVP call (805) 449-2743 or e-mail councilonaging @tooaks.org. Location will be provided when reservations are made.

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