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What Will It Take?

Last week, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) analyzed the 2010 census and concluded that “there are more seniors in our region than 10 years ago—and fewer children.  From 2000-2010 the number of residents 65 and over grew by 4.0%, about one percent faster than the region overall.  Seniors now comprise 13.4% of the population.”  The Executive Office of Elder Affairs shared a graphic prepared by UMass/Boston that illustrates (based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s interim state population projections from 2005) that over the next 20 years, Massachusetts population growth will occur almost entirely in the 60+ age groups.

The Census Bureau recently projected that the number of seniors in the U.S. over 90 years old will more than quadruple by 2050.  The study also reported a direct correlation between advanced age and poverty.  Just a few years ago, at the beginning of the Deval Patrick Administration, DHCD commissioned a study from the UMASS Donahue Institute which showed that 53.5% of people over 75 experienced a housing cost burden—more than half—and the HIGHEST percentage for any age group.

The trajectory could not be more clear.  We will be overwhelmed by the number of seniors needing support—financial and physical.  What hasn’t followed is a “call to arms” to aggressively plan to handle this demographic tsunami.  JCHE takes seriously our role in combating this apathy.  Stay tuned……….

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