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Boomer Bust? The Future of Senior Housing

The next 20 years will bring substantial growth in the number of adults aged 65 and older living in the United States. The  U.S. Census projects that the number of senior citizens will increase from 48 million to 79 million by 2035. At that time,  one in five households will be led by someone over age 65, compared to just one in seven today. Ohio is home to more than two million senior citizens with 70,000 living in Cleveland alone.

This demographic shift means that communities and policy makers must adapt accordingly. One vital component is the need for affordable, safe housing options that are connected to senior services and resources. The decision among current housing options - assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or remaining in an existing home (commonly known as "aging in place") - is frequently being made by not just for the parents of Baby Boomers, but also by Baby Boomers themselves.  These choices may not be available to everyone, however, and can vary widely depending on geographic location, availability of senior programming, and their position on the economic spectrum.  

How can officials across Greater Cleveland ensure that seniors not only survive, but thrive? How can families and workers find a high quality housing choice for all, whether urban, suburban or rural?  How can policy makers ensure access to public transit, work to maintain connectedness to others to prevent social isolation, ensure necessary access to senior services, promote physical agility to prevent falls, or conduct maintenance/improvement to older homes? The choices made today not only affect quality of life of today, but also millions of dollars in economic impact tomorrow.

This panel discusses how the city and region can increase housing options for senior citizens, while simultaneously providing a high quality of life.

Panelists include:

Rob Hilton, CEO, McGregor

Richard L. Jones, Ph.D., Administrator, Division of Senior and Adult Services, Cuyahoga County 

Mark McDermott, Vice President & Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Roz Quarto, Executive Director, Empowering and Strengthening Ohio's People (ESOP)

Moderated by The Center for Community Solutions' Policy Planning Associate  William Tarter, Jr. 

Jean-Marie Papoi is a digital producer for the arts & culture team at Ideastream Public Media.