The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday September 30th

We must remember needs of elderly adults

TO THE EDITOR:

In a previous letter to the editor, dentist Sam Lasris illustrated some of the benefits of the proposed Orange County Transit Plan.

The author focused on the benefits for residents in rural Orange County including decreasing traffic congestion on rural roads.
While this is a noble pursuit, I believe certain needs of rural residents must also be addressed.

There is a large, often overlooked population of transit-dependent elderly adults, many with disabilities, living isolated in the rural areas of Orange County.

With few transportation options, the burden of meeting their mobility needs often falls on caregivers, severely interfering with family functioning and creating economic hardship.

This issue is reflective of the national lack of attention being paid towards the needs of elderly adults.

Without transportation, these people face social isolation and barriers to accessing health care, which can contribute to depression and host of other health problems.

We as a society owe it to our seniors to provide basic services to increase their physical, social, emotional, mental and economic wellbeing. We have some services in place for these seniors, but they must be dramatically expanded.

I will echo Lasris’ claim that, “We all win with an efficient, comprehensive transportation system,” but I assert that we must be mindful of everyone whose wellbeing is at stake.

Improved transportation benefits not only students and commuters, but isolated seniors as well.

Many of us have been taught to honor our parents, but let’s not forget to honor our parents’ parents as well.

Peter Cianci ’14
School of Social Work

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