The Park Record editorial, September 12, 2009
September 11, 2009
One of Park City’s most well known and loved senior citizens was memorialized at a gathering on Thursday. Ella Sorensen, a 90-year-old widow, was remembered with fond stories about her vitality and sense of humor. But few of those stories included the hardships she endured living alone on a steep hillside in a town oriented toward snow sports and youth.
Like so many of the town’s seniors, in her final days Sorensen was forced to leave her home of 60 years to take up residence in a care facility in Salt Lake City. And she hated it. She missed her bevy of friends and her perch atop historic Old Town, but there is nowhere in town that could accommodate her needs.
That must change. And judging by the advancing age of those who attended Thursday’s memorial, it had better happen soon.
Park City residents enjoy a spectrum of world-class amenities, but for those who choose to spend their golden years here, services are sparse by comparison.
Over the years many politicians have promised to build housing for seniors, but so far, none have kept that promise. A handful of developers have submitted proposals to the city and the county, but they have not moved forward.
But now, Sorensen’s friends are beginning to realize that the challenges she faced may soon be their own. Where will they live when they can’t manage a big house and yard but want to remain among friends and family? Who will notice if they are home alone and fall and break a hip, as Sorensen did?
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As the baby boomers took over Park City and turned it into a thriving resort town, they did not do a great job of caring for the longtime citizens who kept the town in business after mining ground to a halt and the economy fell into a depression.
Now our generation may be faced with the same limited options we left our predecessors.
That’s not acceptable. One of the best ways that Sorensen’s admirers can honor her is by pressing for additional services for senior citizens and concrete plans to create affordable senior housing. Think of it as just one more essential amenity to add to the city’s impressive list.