City considers forming group to address senior concerns

Naperville officials are looking at taking a more organized approach to meeting some of the needs of the community’s older residents.

City Council members last week briefly discussed the idea of establishing a group to focus on the growing senior population.

Councilman Paul Hinterlong said it could be modeled after the cultural outreach program established last year to fortify connections between the city and its Chinese and Indian residents. Hinterlong told fellow council members he would like to look into the city’s senior community and “find out their full priority list and see if it warrants a full-fledged commission or not.”

Mayor A. George Pradel supports the concept but doesn’t want to rush into anything. “In the 19 years that I’ve been mayor, we’ve never had a new board or commission,” he said, adding that he has discussed the idea with the city’s attorneys. “Legal said we really need to look into it, and look for the purpose, look for what mission that they have, and then if it’s necessary, make sure that it’s something that we as a council want. … We need to take a look at it; we need to research it before we move ahead.”

While the Naperville Park District offers a wide range of programs, courses and other activities for seniors, the city would like to ensure that other needs are not going unmet.

“Basically it would help seniors find services they’re looking for, give them options, transportation — just kind of an information outlet for seniors to use,” Hinterlong said.

Because a formal commission would bring structure that includes adherence to Open Meetings Act regulations, and requirements for meeting notices and attendance, the new group could be established more along the lines of a committee.

Councilwoman Judith Brodhead also liked the proposal. “I think the issue is a really good one,” she said. “It’s certainly a population that’s increasing, and it’s going to be more significant as people age in place, want to be around their grandchildren, or for other reasons want to stay.”

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