The Journal has written previously over various plans to build or arrange senior living facilities on Guam.  Those did not come to fruition — whether mooted for discussion by the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority or private sector hopefuls.

Meanwhile, time marches on and our senior citizens grow older.

What many of our residents will need is assisted living facilities. The best of these in the market offer care that includes suitable living units that are easy to navigate, managers, social interaction and other pluses and healthcare.

There are also models that allow seniors to buy their accommodation and others that offer rental rates.

Guam has a senior population of around 19,000 to 20,000.

For many of our seniors on fixed incomes — with or without Social Security — the economics of retirement will determine what sort of living accommodation is possible — the spare bedroom of a family member — a purpose-built apartment, or independent living.

Without help, the golden years will not necessarily be so golden. 

Sen. Amanda L. Sheldon, the legislative chair on senior citizens, is taking on the issue and will chair an 18-month long task force to investigate options through the Senior Citizens Housing Task Force Act of 2020, is now Public Law 35-140.

Shelton said she will “look forward to the Task Force tackling the challenges surrounding senior housing on Guam and assess key issues such as funding for facilities, and the health and safety of residents. …” She also said she’s confident the task force can “get the job done … .”

Whether the senator’s nine-member task force will view the island’s manamko as a whole or look solely at Guam Housing and Urban Renewal senior clients and retirees who have little income is yet to be determined. Task Force Members are to be “government officials, community stakeholders and housing officials,” according to the senator’s office, which also told the Journal that a healthcare professional may also join the group. That’s obviously a good idea.

A comprehensive solution that offers multiple models for consideration is the intelligent solution, as assisted living is a community-wide issue now. mbj