Fifty Island seniors ‘speak out’

A display for Older Americans Month at the Mercer Island library shows changes in technology over the years. -   Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
A display for Older Americans Month at the Mercer Island library shows changes in technology over the years.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

The Mercer Island Senior Commission entertained ideas from post-55-year-olds on May 30 about what is needed in this community for them.

Suggestions from as many as 50 drop-ins at the “Speak Out” event included greater transportation resources, a designated senior center at the Community Center at Mercer View, neighborhood-based “buddy” support or social networks, the creation of more affordable senior housing, reduced travel hazards such as the placement of additional marked and sound-signal crosswalks, and more in-home services and delivery of goods.

The commission meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursdays of the month at the Community Center. The next meeting is June 19, at which more input is welcome. A special needs and interest survey has been widely distributed to tap elder perspectives. It is available at the MI Library, Community Center, Island Books, the Jewish Community Center, the Chamber of Commerce and several retirement homes. Surveys may also be obtained from Commissioner Beth Cordova, 232-0738.

The City Council established the seven-member commission last year to identify and meet needs and interests of Mercer Islanders, ages 55 and older. Mike Cero is the group’s City Council liaison; the chair is David Jobe, the vice-chair is Harriet Weiss and the staff contacts are Betsy Zuber and Jeannette Eggebrecht.

Cordova said that there had been positive feedback from the recent commission and library-sponsored display, “Connecting the Generations,” at the library. It juxtaposed heirloom family portraits with contemporary ones, old and new communication tools and writing implements, and favorite books of yore and today.

The commission also supports the Aug. 20 barbecue lunch planned by MI Parks and Recreation to celebrate National Senior Citizens Day. It will be another opportunity for person-to-person input. By early fall, the commission expects to make final recommendations to the City Council, based on its findings.

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