Seniors Discuss Community Concerns

Walks Throughout District Focus on Likes, Dislikes

Sam P.K. Collins | 5/28/2014, 3 p.m.
Yolanda Fell checks on friends, picks up trash, and jots down neighbors' concerns during walks around her neighborhood. Although she ...
Aurelia Clifford (left), 87, Margaret Labat, 84, and Margaret's grandson Sean Holmes, 11, chatted while they walked throughout Ward 7 during the block-by-block Age-Friendly DC Initiative earlier this spring. Nancy Shia

“We need a place to sit and drink water,” said Butler, 79. “I don’t see any benches for elderly people who want to catch their breath. I don’t see a call button that they can use to get help. I’ve also seen some low-hanging telephone cables that could potentially harm people,” said Butler who lives in Northwest.

Kathleen Holly, 73, a retired Pepco employee, said she often reminisces about quieter times in her Congress Heights cul-de-sac in Southeast.

“Half of the people that live on my block are over 60-years-old,” said Holly. “My house overlooks Interstate 295 and we always have bumper-to-bumper traffic. Getting out of the cul-de-sac and onto Malcolm X Avenue is a hassle. The airplanes flying over us make extra noise. The small things matter. We just want to keep some quiet and decency.”

Ten Age-Friendly DC Task Force committees, composed of members of the task force and representatives of various public and private organizations, started meeting in the earlier part of this year to set goals and objectives. Once the walks end in early September, the task force will create a strategic plan using the committees’ recommendations. It will then present the plan to the mayor and the AARP DC State Office.

Although Fell expressed her thanks to DMHHS, the DC Office on Aging and the AARP DC State Office for their efforts on May 1, she said there’s a lot left to be desired.

“We've had some progress but everything takes so long to happen and that’s the problem,” said Fell. “I would like to see this as something that brings change but only time will tell.”