Mobility More Of A Concern As Boomers Age

Access to transportation for the elderly is of increasing concern as baby boomers approach retirement. Though the problem is major, many communities already have some programs in place to improve mobility for seniors.

"As the oldest of the nation's 79 million baby boomers turn 61 this year, the specter of aging and its consequences loom large. Boomers may be worrying about their parents now but know they may experience similar challenges someday."

"Concern over how the bulging population of seniors will get around in a sprawling nation heavily dependent on the automobile is paramount among advocates for the elderly - so much so that Markwood's group is making transportation the centerpiece of its annual "Home for the Holidays" campaign."

"'Half of American households don't have access to adequate transportation options other than cars,' Markwood says. 'Rural America and suburbs don't have public transportation available.'"

"Through the Eldercare Locator program the association administers nationwide, the group is encouraging adult children visiting their aging parents to take appropriate steps to connect Mom and Dad with a way to get to the doctor, the pharmacy, the beauty shop or the grocery store. The group is getting the word out - through brochures that will be distributed by local agencies for the aging - that many areas provide free transportation to the elderly."

Full Story: Senior transportation a growing concern




I guess this is why planners are called, well...planners. It is way way too early to be worrying about mobility and other elder care issues for Boomers as far as many are concerned. Sure, it should be in the back of our minds, as individuals and collectively, but the real focus of many Boomers is moving to hip urban neighborhoods where they can avail themsevles of the plethora of attendant amentities. Many Boomers are still dealing with aging parents of their own--albeit fewer every day.

Moreover, over 55 people are starting urban businesses at about twice the rate of
people under 35--so Boomers are entrepreneurial, hip, and ready to break the rules.
From art galleries, to antique stores, to funky boutiques to niche businesses---Boomers are opening them in neighborhoods and downtowns across the country. Plus they are moving into unconventional housing units in urban sectors, furthering the "hip" factor. Planners are worried about broken hips when they ought to see just how "hip" Boomers are making things. Madonna just hit 50--and there are plenty like her.

Cities that are not trying to attract Boomers as entrepreneurs are shooting themselves in the foot. If I was running a city, I would demand that my Economic Development Department develop a marketing program to attract Boomers--NOW!! We have offices of Creativty(I know I know--I feel the same way)--why not simply turn our attention to Boomers!!!

Some economists, who are incorrectly reading the data are espousing the need to attract under 35 entrepreneurs. HUH??? Where is the captial coming from? The house they have owned for 30 years, their 401(k)? their savings plans? Moreover, the pent up creativity of the generation that saw Woodstock, the assinations of John, Bobby and Martin, fought in the streets against Vietnam and gave free love a good name is popping up in interesting businesses from coast to coast.

So plan for mobility issues, plan for extra wide sidewalks, plan for shared elderly housing. The Boomers will see you in their stores.

Chuck D'Aprix [Charles D'Aprix]
Economic Development Visions
The Downtown Entrepreneurship Project

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