Community Development, State News, Supportive Housing

The Coming Challenges of an Aging Connecticut

 

It’s often called the “Silver Tsunami,” the onrush of aging baby boomers 78 million strong nationally, and nearly one million in Connecticut.  The result is an unprecedented impact on the economy and our social fabric

And now, the oldest members of this socially engaged and world-changing generation are turning 67.

What’s it mean for Connecticut -- the seventh oldest state in the nation -- where the population of older adults 65 and over will have grown 64 percent between 2006 and 2030; where those 85-and-over are the fastest single growing segment of our population?

From a state budget perspective, this profound demographic shift will prompt major reforms.  Already, long-term services and supports (at the Department of Social Services) represent approximately 13 percent of the state budget.  
The complexity demands solutions based on objective research, strategic partnerships and responsible use of federal, state, local and philanthropic resources.

The Commission on Aging, a nonpartisan research and public policy office of the Connecticut General Assembly, works to shape innovative policy and practices, and to redefine “aging.”  We work across the branches of government to identify solutions, educate, inform, lead and bring together diverse stakeholders to prepare our state for this tsunami. 

In fact, the phrase “silver tsunami” reflects a somewhat negative characterization.  This shift also comes with vast opportunities.  Perhaps this warrants a follow-up entry about how those on the leading edge of this generation are an extraordinary resource. I’ll entitle it “wisdom explosion” or “experience era.” 

In the meantime, our dedicated staff of three and diverse and remarkably experienced (unpaid) citizen board are tackling the work before us by shining a light on what is and isn’t working in state government, and leading the way to a brighter future.

*Julia Evans Starr is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Aging. 

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