With the number of senior citizens in the United States expected to double by 2040, reaching 81.2 million, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) wants to ensure that programs benefiting the elderly have enough funding — especially in the state of Colorado.
Volunteers and officials from AARP of Colorado want to expand the Older Coloradans Act, with an additional $4 million in funding. The Older Coloradans Act ensures that seniors have nutritious meals; nutrition screening, education and counseling; health promotion and disease prevention; and access to physical activities.
In addition to an overall increase in the number of seniors in the U.S., Colorado could see a 123% increase in the number of residents over 65 by 2030, according to AARP experts.
The organization aims to provide those seniors have the highest quality of life possible. Funding would improve the Meals on Wheels programs and offer seniors with financial assistance for a caregiver or an assisted living facility.
U.S. News and World Report noted an increase in the number of family members providing care for elderly parents and grandparents. The ratio of family caregivers for each “vulnerable” person is now 7 to 1, but it could reach 3 to 1 as Baby Boomers continue to age.
Around 77 million Baby Boomers will retire in the next 20 years, which could lead to significant growth for the assisted living industry, as well.
Nancy Leamond, executive vice president of AARP, said that as many as 7 in 10 adults 65 and older will require support services — and, potentially, caregivers — to live independently.
But those who don’t hire professional caregivers or move into assisted living homes rely on family members. Current AARP estimates state that 42 million Americans are providing care for older relatives, which equates to around $450 billion in unpaid care services, according to Leamond.
The AARP of Colorado sent its request for funding to the state legislature at the beginning of December. The funding request will be reviewed in a session beginning Jan. 7.