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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Addressing the growing Howard County senior citizen population: One organization's response

   I know I many times sound like a "broken record" but the reality of Howard County becoming a mature county is rapidly playing out on many fronts.  The number of 50+ residences being built around the county are just one of the more visible signs of this reality.  Just to set the stage for this change it might be helpful to give some information on how our population will be changing in the next 30 years.  The Howard County Commission on Aging released a report that addresses this population growth. While the overall population of Howard County will be slowing from our rapid growth of the past 30 years the growth of the population over 65 will be increasing in the percentage of our total population.  In the next 30 years the population of residents 0-19 years old will increase by 1%, residents 20-64 will increase 8% and residents 65+ will increase 165%.  In fact, the population under 65 is projected to have 0% growth from 2020 to 2040.  From a service/need perspective the growth of the 85+ population to 16% of the over 65 population will require increasing growth of supportive services for older adults.
     The shifting of priorities from meeting the needs of children and families to senior citizens will be more emphasized by our local institutions.  How this will play out with our local educational systems and community services remains to be seen.   How will our school system and community college which has had to rapidly grow to serve our expanding population of young persons adapt when this young demographic growth stops?  Will the newly constructed buildings have to be repurposed to serve the increasing senior population?  Will our Police and Fire Departments have to adjust to the emergency needs of an older/frailer population?  I remember when someone from the Fire Department contacted the Office on Aging because a frail senior citizen was contacting them frequently to respond to non emergency needs.
      One local institution, the Columbia Association, has been examining how they will be addressing the changing population of Columbia.  This is a substantial change for CA which has primarily been serving a youth and family demographic.  CA looses many members when children leave the homes of many of our older residents.  I know that we stopped being CA members when our children moved out of our home.  With this in mind CA is holding a public meeting next week to obtain community feedback on its Comprehensive Plan for Serving the Older Adult Community.  The following is information from CA on this meeting:

"For more than a year, a Columbia Association (CA) work team has been developing a Comprehensive Plan for Serving the Older Adult Community. CA is seeking the community’s feedback on the draft plan via a pair of public meetings to be held on Monday, Jan. 13, at Slayton House (10400 Cross Fox Lane in the Wilde Lake Village Center). The first session will be from 10 a.m. to noon and the second session will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Both meetings will feature the same content. The purpose of the meetings is to solicit input on the draft plan and to answer questions.

Comment sheets will also be available. The draft plan and comment sheet will be posted on the project website,, by Friday, Dec. 27, and the comment period will be open through Friday, Jan. 31. In keeping with CA’s sustainability ethic, a limited number of hard copies will also be available upon request.

Registration is appreciated, but not required. Please visit to register.  An inclement weather day has been set for Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the same times as the Monday, Jan. 13 meetings."

   I seem to be on an older adult theme today.  I received the following info from the Library.

"KERRY HANNON: Launching Your Encore Career

Discover the possibilities, challenges, and secrets of landing a job in today's market when you are 50 years old and better. Career, retirement and personal finance expert Kerry Hannon discusses her bestselling book,Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy... And Pays the Bills. The Wall Street Journal named it as one of their six best guides for later life in 2012.

Hannon is a contributing editor to Forbes magazine and writes the "Great Jobs" column. Books available for purchase and signing.

Tuesday, Jan 14, 7 - 8:30 pm.  Presented in partnership with Howard County Department of Citizen Services' Office on Aging."


1 comment:

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