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.
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.