Mission preparing for surge of aging citizens - KCTV5

Mission preparing for surge of aging citizens

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MISSION, KS (KCTV) -

It is the first time in the history of the world that there will be more people over the age of 65 than there will be under the age of 15.

A recent study shows that in the next 15 years, one in four people living in the metro will be 65 years or older.

Cities are starting to look at ways to help baby boomers grow old. Mission is just one of four cities in the metro involved in the study.

Mission is preparing for a surge of aging citizens as baby boomers turn 65 or older.

"The Communities for All Ages work that we're doing now is the singularly most important thing we could be spending our time on," Emily Randel said.

The KC Community for All Ages is a pilot project with the Mid-America Regional Council. It aims to find out how four cities in the metro need to adjust for the drastically shifting demographic.  Click here for more information.

"It will change our reality," Randel said.

Project leaders with MARC say it is reality that 60 adults in the metro are turning 65 each day - a trend that will continue for the next 20 years.

"So communities are beginning to say what does this mean to us, what do we need to do to prepare for a population that will be primarily or a significant increase of individuals over the age of 65," Cathy Boyer-Shesol said.

MARC's aging chart shows the increase by county. Johnson County will see a 140 percent increase in seniors over the next 15 years.

Cities have a 60-item checklist analyzing things like transportation and accessibility.

"Where you have trails in a community, do you have benches on those trails, so that people can take a rest? Are the trails connecting them to the services that they need now that they aren't driving? Will they be able to access the amenities they are used to?" Randel said.

If they don't do this, the city could suffer economic and social consequences.

"The alternative is really what none of us want to see. Adults who are increasingly isolated in their own homes, with decreasing health and limited access to health services and community connections that they really need. We don't want to see that. We don't want to see a housing stock that's deteriorating because seniors can't maintain the homes they're living in. We don't want people to not have access to the types of services they need," Randel said.

The other cities assessing their readiness include Raytown, Gladstone and Prairie Village.

They want residents to weigh in about the advantages and challenges so that everyone at any age can live independently for as long as possible.

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