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Northeast Ohio Getting Older, Facing New Challenges
As baby boomers age, the United States is getting older. That trend is even more pronounced in parts of Ohio. "By 2020, just two years away, one in four residents in half of Ohio's 88 counties will be 60 and older," Joanna Connors writes for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Cleveland has made efforts to accommodate seniors including joining the World Health Organization's Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities. "An age-friendly city, according to WHO, is a place that enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities, treats everyone with respect, makes it easy to stay connected to others, helps people stay healthy and active even at the oldest ages, and aids those who can no longer look after themselves to live with dignity and enjoyment," Connors reports. To move toward these goals the city has reached out to it's senior community and created an action plan to continue to build out services for that community.
Challenges remain, the city's shrinking population means that much of the city's property markets are very cold, this translates to an aging housing stock and less incentive for home owners to repair and maintain their properties. "One of the biggest of those challenges is housing, Hokenstad said. In the city of Cleveland, the median year of construction for housing is 1920, according the Cuyahoga County Auditor," Connors writes. This is a particular problem for older residents because older homes can be more expensive to modify especially in the event of a loss of mobility.