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State Bracing For Baby Boom Retirees

Connecticut has the seventh-highest population of retirees and that population is going to grow, experts warn.

With more Baby Boomers coming into retirement age Connecticut, which already has one of the highest rates of retirees in the nation, must be ready for the demands of that population, experts warned during a forum Monday in Hartford.

Dubbed the "silver tsunami,"  Connecticut's population of those 65 and older could increase by more than 64 percent within the next 15 years, officials with the Commission on Aging said during the event that drew state and municipal leaders who are concerned about how to prepare for the demographic shift, according to the Connecticut Mirror. The forum was co-sponsored by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

Some of the issue discussed for Connecticut's aging population included ideas like widening sidewalks, installing municipal bus stops with shelters and benches, creating more bicycle lanes and well-marked crosswalks, as well as making walk lights at crosswalks longer so that slower-moving seniors have time to safely cross the street, the Mirror report says.

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Some of those changes would benefit the old and young alike, said Coralette Hannon, a representative with AARP who was the forum's keynote speaker.

"A curb-cut designed for a wheelchair user also benefits a parent pushing a baby stroller. A crosswalk safe for a senior is a crosswalk safe for a child," the Mirror quotes Hannon.

She also recommended to the forum that local leaders consider updating home design standards to make new housing more elder-friendly, including features like step-free entrances, non-slip floors and handicap-accessible bathrooms.

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Ernie S January 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM
If you're like my town, Southington, there is very little regard for seniors; here's just a few examples. Town officials are still in the childhood years funding million-dollar replacement to the high school football field with plastic grass and a $90 million dollar renovation to two perfectly good middle schools. Senior transport resources (because who wants to drive when you're 85?) are two Minnie buses from the senior center which, btw is a mile out of town & miles from shopping. No downtown grocery stores. Sidewalks, at least where they are, are a mishmash of concrete (mostly broken) and asphalt (mostly just over dirt) -- they're a hazard to healthy young folk let alone seniors! [and I don't care if the town brushes repairs off as the owner's responsibility -- the town put them in and the town should fix them] Seniors in America ARE becoming a concern in terms of quantity and longevity. Town officials need to wake up and smell the coffee rather then bury their heads in the sand and go for the glitz. An expensive playing field might be good for the sports cabal in town but its very limited in its usefulness and that million could have been put to better use. Towns, like Southington, need to do more -- much more -- for their seniors. Fellow seniors, remember this next time you vote!

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