October 13 2017
As baby boomers continue to age over the next few years, there is expected to be tremendous growth in the number of senior citizens and the need for elderly housing. Fortunately, lawmakers in Michigan have already recognized the expected growth, and are taking steps to address it.
A Growing Population And Need For Elderly Housing
It’s predicted that Michigan will see a dramatic demographic shift over the next few years. In southeast Michigan alone, for example, the number of senior citizens is expected to be greater than the number of individuals younger than 18.
Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology’s associate research director Thomas Jankowski told MLive, “I don’t think this has happened before in human history. Overall population will stay relatively stable, but the number of younger folks is going to decrease as they age out of their age group, and the number of older folks is going to increase dramatically.”
Jankowski also said that governments must prepare for the senior population boom and make improvements to elderly housing, transit, and other programs. Elderly housing will have to provide activities to all of these senior citizens while helping promote an active lifestyle.
Working To Solve The Problem
Recently, Michigan lawmakers met with experts and community leaders to discuss elderly housing in the future. Their meeting was given the acronym CLASH, which stands for the Coalition of Legislators for Affordable Senior Housing. The group’s goal is “to define a policy agenda to ensure Michigan is prepared for the challenges an aging population will present in the coming years."
When the forum was announced, Washtenaw County Commissioner Conan Smith pointed out the predicted rapid growth of senior-headed households in southeast Michigan, with statistics from the Urban Institute showing that those numbers doubling in the next thirty years. Smith said, “These regional trends are certainly reflected statewide, and office and stakeholders will need to devise new policies and approaches that respond to the changing housing needs of this older population.”
State Rep. Ronnie Peterson, D-Ypsilanti Township, told his constituents via email, “This summer, I have been proud to join many of you in various demonstrations and meetings to bring to light the senior housing crisis facing our community and our state. As Michigan’s population ages, the demand for affordable senior housing increases too…as lawmakers, it is our obligation to ensure that our seniors are not marginalized or discriminated against.”
Start Considering Your Future
Even if your parents or loved ones are not quite at the age where they need elderly housing, it’s never too early to begin thinking about their future. It’s especially important to begin considering your options now when there is expected to be such a dramatic and rapid increase in the number of senior citizens. Thankfully, Michigan lawmakers are doing what they can to fight for senior citizens and ensure that everyone will receive proper care as they age.