by Senator Fred Fife
For many Utahns becoming a senior is an enjoyable, rewarding time of life. For others it is not. Some seniors struggle to meet their basic needs: food, shelter, health care, and the necessities for combating isolation. There was a report recently that Utah Food Bank delivered 300 food boxes to needy seniors as part of recognizing Martin Luther King Day. Many others were not so lucky.
Affordable housing is a major issue for seniors forced to relocate. Rents and housing costs have escalated far beyond increases in Social Security benefits. When a mobile home park is converted for commercial or condominium development, a senior mobile homeowner is faced with $20,000 to $25,000 in moving costs, if they can find a new location for it. Many cannot afford to keep their homes.
Seniors are the fastest growing segment of our society and are in more need of health care than any other segment of society. Affordable health care is out of reach for many seniors, resulting in complications and isolation. These seniors become disabled because of old age.
Native Americans look at life and living as coming full circle. They recognize that infants are fully dependent on others, and so, too, are elders. Our society needs to ensure that our seniors are provided with the basics of food, shelter, health care, and the necessities for combating isolation.
We, this 57th Legislature have the opportunity to play a major role in this effort.