Sussex needs a senior transportation plan

July 22, 2014

Let's alter the image of the Delaware Beach from a place to retire to a place to live out the rest of your wonderful life.”

One of the overwhelming reasons, other than the low tax rates, that lures out-of-state middle aged persons to buy a home in Sussex for eventual retirement is the image promoted by business enterprises that pictures active, engaged 50-70-year-olds who can play tennis, go to the beach, party, golf and have a good time. That is a valid image for our dear state; it is one that makes the common plan for most moving-in to buy a place in their 50s as a vacation home and move there permanently when they retire.

Yet, there is a third step that many have failed to consider - old age. They may have failed to take into account that the chances of living to 90-plus will be standard for the Baby Boomer generation and Generation X. With that, we know, too, that the majority of seniors want to remain in their homes for as long as they can (AARP Public Policy Institute, 2011). We know that the average private room in a nursing home costs $230 per day/$7,000 per month (US Dept. of Social Services 2014). We know that reliable, affordable transportation is the major factor in the ability to stay in your home (National Aging in Place Council 2014).

A small steering committee in Sussex County is attempting to be a part of solving the transportation problem by starting up an affiliation with ITNAmerica, a nationwide senior volunteer transportation system. This is not a typical volunteer transportation system in that this is a system where the drivers get a benefit beyond the pleasure of serving others. Drivers are actually banking free miles for their future.

Let's be proactive here. Let's embrace our demographic and prepare for a surge. Let's encourage people to age in place... here, amongst the friends they will have created over a 30-plus-year living pattern. Then our motto for the state can be “Live out the years of your life with us.”

Robert C. Porta

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