BY CHRIS WIDELO
Queens is aging—fast—along with the rest of New York City. The borough’s 65-plus population is projected to grow by more than 30 percent and the city’s population as a whole by an astounding 40 percent between 2010 and 2040. That translates into a huge urgency to address the needs of aging New Yorkers.
It’s no longer enough for the city to try to meet these rapidly growing needs in isolation or just through the lens of the city’s Department for the Aging. The city must begin integrating aging priorities throughout government.
With elections for all city offices this fall—including primaries next week—now is your chance to press candidates to commit to addressing key priorities of the 50-plus across all city agencies and departments.
AARP New York has launched a multi-faceted, nonpartisan New York City voter engagement campaign to help you hold your candidates accountable. We’re doing this through candidate forums, get out the vote activities and more to inform both candidates and voters. To get involved and learn more, go to action.aarp.org/nycvote17.
As the city, state and nation’s population age, 50-plus residents are making up a bigger and bigger share of the electorate.
They accounted for more than half the vote in last year’s presidential election, and they historically make up an even larger share in off-years.
So, what do the overwhelming majority of city voters 50 years and older say they need?
They need more affordable housing, better transportation options, increased adult day care services and—for more than four of every five—greater support for family caregivers, so that their loved ones can age safely in their homes, according to a recent AARP poll.
We’re letting all candidates in the September primary know that New Yorkers want age-friendly policies across government that help them and their loved ones age in place.
Aging issues must become part of city-wide planning and action across all agencies, including the departments of Transportation, Health, Parks and others. Our leaders should be committed to prioritizing and fighting for issues to help make New York more age-friendly and affordable.
Help us make sure our candidates are ready to stand up for our aging population. Join our engagement campaign. And later this fall, look for video voter guides with mayoral candidates and other voter engagement materials from AARP.
Now is the time to get informed, get involved, and get ready to vote.
Chris Widelo is the associate director for advocacy for AARP in New York City.