The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

May is Older American's Month

 


To The Eagle:

May is Older American’s Month. As Vice-Chair of the Washington State Council on Aging and an active advocate for senior programs with the Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities of Southwest Washington, I happily admit to being senior sensitive. The theme for Older American’s Month 2017 is Age Out Loud and The Administration for Community Living wants you to know that. More than ever before, older Americans are working longer, trying new things, and engaging in their communities.

They’re taking charge, striving for wellness, focusing on independence, and advocating for themselves and others. We are visible, vocal and valuable; you will see us and hear from us!

The May issue of Forbes magazine has an interesting article on Older American’s Month written by Bob Blancato. Bob Blancato is the President of Matz, Blancato and Associates, the National Coordinator of the bipartisan 3000-member Elder Justice Coalition, and the Executive Director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs. In short, he knows something about aging and what it’s like to be an older American.

He shared some facts about Americans 65+ from a report issued by the Administration for Community Living called Profile of Older Americans. The top three were: 1. Over the past 10 years (2005-2015), the 65 and over population increased by 30% to 47.8 million. It is expected to double to 98 million in 2060. The increase was 34% for those 60+. 2. The 85+ population is expected to triple from 6.7 million in 2015 to 14.6 million in 2040 and those over 100 now total almost 77,000. 3. Older women outnumber older men (26.7 million to 21.1 million). And almost half of all older women live alone.

In Wahkiakum County, the projections are that 38.9% of our population will be 65+ by 2020 and our median age in 2010 was already 52+, which made us the 3rd oldest county in the state. The Wahkiakum County profile on fortress.wa.gov says, “The county is an attractive place to retire, and more than a quarter of the county’s personal income comes from transfer payments such as Social Security and Medicare. Wahkiakum County has an ideal climate for growing Douglas fir trees on a short rotation.” (I would add, an ideal climate for growing old people, hopefully, on a long rotation.) Please be aware of your aging neighbors.

We will continue the work to strengthen critical and essential government funded programs for our seniors; i.e. Medicare, Medicaid, social security, senior nutrition programs and transportation services. It’s in our best interest. It certainly is in mine. Fair warning: If we follow the US statistical trends, Wahkiakum will soon be a county being run by old women living alone. Think about it.

Suzanne Holmes

Wahkiakum County Health & Human Services

 

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