What’s needed in a graying Park City?
September 22, 2009
City Hall, as it considers steps it could take to better serve what is becoming a graying community, will conduct a poll in an effort to learn about the lifestyles of Parkites who are nearing retirement or have already reached their golden years.
The poll comes as the local government appears committed to some sort of housing assistance for older people. The talks are in their early stages, but there has been interest in senior issues for some time, with Mayor Dana Williams long indicating he is committed to the cause.
The poll is scheduled to launch late this week or early next week. It will likely last a few weeks. Officials planned to gather input through avenues like an online version of the poll and via distribution through groups like the senior-citizen centers in Summit County, clubs and religious groups.
City Hall staffers intend to compile the numbers and issue a report to Williams and the City Council in November.
"We want a realistic assessment of what the likely needs will be over the next 10-15 years," said Rhoda Stauffer, who coordinates City Hall’s housing programs.
The poll is designed for people who are at least 55 years old. The questions on a draft version seek information about a broad set of topics, including what senior-oriented programs people have taken part in previously and the importance of a list of senior-related topics.
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Some of the questions on the draft version include:
Whether someone has had problems finding affordable housing or transportation to doctor appointments or shopping.
How frequently someone receives help with their personal care, household chores, yard work or cooking.
What programs have someone used before, including meals at a senior center, snow removal services and recreation or exercise programs.
The draft version also asks people to rate the importance of a list of services meant to keep senior citizens living independently in their homes. The services include meal programs, assistance with legal issues, skilled in-home health care and assistance with managing finances.
Meanwhile, it asks how likely it is that the people move from Park City in the next five to 10 years. If so, it asks what would convince them to leave, such as the snowy winters, difficulty in getting around Park City, medical issues or the need for a smaller place to live. It also inquires about the prospects of the people moving into a nursing home or an assisted-living facility someday.
The survey comes as there seems to be some momentum at City Hall to widen the municipal offerings to senior citizens in some fashion. Stauffer said the local government does not plan to build a senior center, but it could be of assistance if a project materializes.
However, City Hall would be heavily involved if formal talks are started about building a housing complex for senior citizens, most likely in Old Town. There has especially been interest in the ground where the Park Avenue fire station once was situated and nearby parcels. City Hall owns the fire station land and some of the land close to old fire station site.
Senior housing is an option on the grounds, but City Hall has not put together a detailed plan for the site.
There are scattered options for senior citizens in Summit County, with there being an assisted-living center in Oakley and senior-citizen centers in Park City, Kamas and Coalville.
It is widely believed that the number of senior citizens in Park City has grown rapidly in the last decade and will continue to do so as wealthy baby boomers choose to retire in the city.