A New Year and A Renewed Call to Action
By Maddy Bynes , PCOA Director of Public Policy & Special Projects Over the past year we’ve discussed many things in this column. From the COVID-19 vaccines and masking to additional funding to support older adults and their caregivers, together we’ve accomplished a lot for our community. In the past year, we’ve worked hard to get out the word about the COVID-19 vaccine and the importance of taking your booster and now is more important than ever before. As we saw cases rise throughout June, and as we saw the prevalence of flu, we are continually reminded that keeping up to date on our booster shots and flu vaccinations are critical to ensuring our health and safety both individually and as a community for the next year. The 4th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is approved and widely available for all people 50 years of age and older and let’s not forget the flu shot. If you got your flu shot in 2022, don’t forget you’ll need to get another one come this fall. The strain of flu changes each year, and it is important to keep up to date with the shot. To know where to Take YOUR Shot, visit covid19.pcoa.org. Also this year, we worked hard to advocate for older people and their care partners at the Legislature and in Congress. It is critical that we
listening sessions designed to collect community input, need, and experience to inform our work. Stay tuned this fall for ways to participate in this important part of our policy work. And finally, it’s important to remember that it is 2022 and an election year. Make sure that your voter registration is current and valid by visiting https:// servicearizona.com/VoterRegistration/ selectLanguage. From housing to health care, it all starts at the ballot box in November. The people whom we entrust to make policy decisions are the people who have a direct influence over funding levels, laws, regulations, and program administration. That choice is in your hands. No matter who you vote for, just remember to do so. No matter the issue, it is important to remember that we are all in it together. Your advocacy, support, volunteer hours, and donations help to make a difference in the lives of older adults and their care partners. Please stay tuned to our public policy page at advocate.pcoa.org to learn about ways you can support these important causes.
continue this work in the year to come. Supporting Area Agencies on Aging through the Older Americans Act and by funding home and community- based services is an important step to ensuring that every older adult can age in the place they choose with dignity and respect. We also need to address the shortage of affordable housing in Pima County. Today far too many older adults are being priced out of the market by soaring rental prices. Investors are coming into Tucson’s relatively affordable market, buying property, renovating, and raising rents beyond what the people in the property could afford. This has led to significant displacement and rapidly increasing rates of homelessness and near homelessness for older people. Over the past year, PCOA worked with local government to better understand the affordable housing crisis and has identified community partners to engage with. Moving forward, we will need to take concrete and concerted steps towards sustainable policy solutions that protect older people and people with low incomes from being forced out of the housing market. All of these will take good data and analysis. This year, PCOA will conduct its first community needs assessment since 2016. This assessment will include surveys, focus groups, and
July 2022, Never Too Late | Page 25
Pima Council on Aging
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