Whistlestop’s New Healthy Aging Campus – Why It Is Needed
Whistlestop’s Healthy Aging Campus will address the three needs most in-demand by older adults in Marin County: connection, affordable homes and healthy aging.
Overcoming isolation and loneliness is one of the toughest struggles for many older adults, and over 16,000 older adults in Marin are currently living alone. Research also suggests that those who are isolated are at an increased risk of depression, cognitive decline and dementia, and that social relationships influence their blood pressure and immune functioning, as well as whether people take their medications. The Healthy Aging Campus will provide connection by serving as a centrally located community center, offering classes, events and other opportunities to experience meaningful engagement with others. Whistlestop buses will serve those coming to the Campus, as well as public busses at the nearby San Rafael transit center and SMART.
The need for human connection transcends age.
Affordable housing specifically for older adults in Marin is a critical need that must be addressed right now. In partnership with local nonprofit Eden Housing, the Campus will provide 66 studio and one-bedroom homes to low-income older adults, at affordable rents ranging from $770 to $1,650 per month. Whistlestop’s proposal is the first in Marin that features 100% affordable units specifically for older residents (age 62 and up). The apartment homes on the Whistlestop Healthy Aging Campus will be more than a place to reside. The campus will also feature community rooms, a computer center and library, and landscaped courtyards with gardens for residents to grow their own vegetables and herbs. Each residential unit will include a kitchen, bathroom, living, dining and sleeping spaces.
It’s estimated that 7,000 older adults in Marin are in need of affordable housing.
Sharing a meal, attending classes, engaging in conversations and activities with contemporaries, and in group activities all increase physical and mental wellness. Housing, food, transportation and social connection must be part of a comprehensive health plan for older adults if our goal is to truly enable and encourage overall health and wellness. Our expanded Healthy Aging Services at the new Campus will combine all of this with integrated health services and workshops to promote healthy aging. The Whistlestop Healthy Aging Program, operated in partnership with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, will be expanded at the new Campus, providing opportunities for aging Marin residents to actively engage in understanding their health risk factors and how they might better manage their health. A new integrated care clinic will coordinate Whistlestop services with healthcare that is currently available in our community to ensure continuous support as we choose our own healthy aging paths. Services will include chronic disease management, podiatry, ophthalmology, behavioral health, medication management and other support services, and will be available to all of Marin’s older adults, not just those who live onsite.
An integrated care clinic will coordinate Whistlestop services with healthcare that is currently available in our community to ensure continuous support as we choose our own healthy aging paths.