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I received an email from AARP indicating that my new membership card would arrive within the next two weeks. Clearly, I’m part of our state’s population that will swell to 25% by 2035.

The good news is I don’t have to wait for others to design programs and policies that will accommodate seniors’ needs. As a part of WV Seniors Can’t Wait, a constituency group of the West Virginia Can’t Wait campaign, seniors like me already have a plan which can better serve me and other elders now.

This plan, just one of 30 policy plans developed through the WV Can’t Wait movement, was the result of more than 10,000 conversations with residents throughout our state through 136 Town Hall meetings, 550 visits to small businesses, recovery programs, churches, union halls and homes.

Not only is there a plan, but there is also a way to pay for it. A tax cut for every household under $168,000 a year and tax increases above that will provide the $35 million for the senior plan.

These funds would cover the costs for investments in transportation, independent living and senior centers, nutrition and food delivery, and investment in inter-generational centers where meaningful cross-age relationships will help decrease social isolation of seniors and at the same time improve the social and emotional skills of children and youth participants.

Additionally, our seniors’ plan would cut healthcare costs and expand access for seniors by expanding mobile health units and care hubs so that seniors in rural locations can have better access. Our plan also includes initiatives like insulin price caps and the expansion of telehealth.

It’s past time that we have a government in West Virginia that is responsive to our needs, which listens and responds to its residents.

Janet Keating

Glenwood, W.Va.

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