How Central Ohio plans to help our aging population
Why it matters: The U.S. isn't well-equipped to handle this impending increase in older residents due to a strained long-term care industry, fewer caregivers to assist with their needs and a world that just isn't designed for them, Axios' Tina Reed reports.
State of play: Franklin County's over-65 population is projected to nearly double by 2040 to 229,000 residents, or 15.4% of the total population, per the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University.
- Just under 10% of Franklin County was 65 and older in 2010.
- That number had already grown to 12.7% last year.
The big picture: Baby boomers are enjoying longer, more active lives than their predecessors and make up the largest generation of older adults in U.S. history.
Zoom in: Local efforts are targeting key services like transportation, housing and health care — plus, don't forget about Mayor Andrew Ginther's promise for a "dramatic" pickleball expansion.
🩺 Health care
Americans are growing more comfortable with home-based care, retail clinics and other options beyond the traditional doctor's office, says Mike Avotins, a Midwest market president for Aetna who is based in Columbus.
The intrigue: Nearly half of people ages 65 and older have tried virtual care visits, a new CVS Health "Future of Healthy Aging" report finds.
- Avotins tells Axios that continued improvements must make virtual care viable for non-tech savvy users.
What we're watching: How our state will address a dire shortage of home health care workers.
- More affordable housing is needed for Central Ohioans of all ages, but especially for aging residents with extremely low incomes — like the new 62-unit complex in Northland.
Threat level: "We're not keeping pace," Katie White, Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging administrator, tells Axios.
Currently 89% of surveyed adults over 50 in our eight-county region typically drive themselves places, per a 2021 assessment by OSU's Age Friendly Innovation Center.
- Improved walkability and public transportation and options like ride sharing will be necessary for older adults who outlive their ability to drive.
What they're saying: "What we're talking about works better for people of all ages and abilities," center director Marisa Sheldon tells Axios.
❤️ Social connections
Local groups are working to connect our communities so residents can support each other.
Zoom in: One example is the Central Ohio Network of Villages, which organizes social events and also links volunteers with neighbors who need assistance.
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