The U.S. Census Bureau expects that by 2030, all of the nation's baby-boom generation will be 65 or older, and the Town of Castle Rock is taking note. The bureau's projection means one in five U.S. …
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The U.S. Census Bureau expects that by 2030, all of the nation's baby-boom generation will be 65 or older, and the Town of Castle Rock is taking note.
The bureau's projection means one in five U.S. residents will be retirement age in 10 years, so Castle Rock recently prepared a report to assess what services are available for seniors in town today and how the change in demographics will affect Castle Rock.
Special Projects Manager Matt Gohl presented the report to town council on Feb. 4. It predicts the largest impact will be to the town's fire department and that the aging population could affect the town's revenue streams.
“We just have to be more mindful of it,” Town Manager David Corliss said.
The state demographer estimates the county's population 65 and older will rise from 12% now to 19% by 2030. That would mean about 4,400 more seniors than there are in the town today, Gohl said.
The report found a larger senior population could create an economic impact for the town, which heavily relies on revenue from sales tax. Seniors tend to change their spending habits after reaching 65, Gohl said, spending less on goods and more on services. The exact economic impact is difficult to quantify, he said.
“One of the areas that we could anticipate a larger impact is really related to fire and rescue,” Gohl said.
Statistics show seniors 65 and older generate about one in every four calls for EMS services among residents living in their own homes, according to the report. Demand increases to one call a year for each resident of an assisted living facility or senior group home.
Fire Chief Norris Croom said residents are not charged for EMS services, but they are charged for transports to the hospital if that is needed.
Staff recommended creating a page on the town's website to guide seniors to services available for them.
The fire department provides training in partnership with the Senior Center on topics including falling, fire safety and general safety. The water department provides residents 65 and older a $3 monthly discount. The town also provides a taxi voucher program available to residents without transportation. More than 40% of users in 2019 were seniors.
The town could expand education for seniors on issues like elder crime, emergency planning and general safety, Gohl said.
DRCOG also has a Boomer Bond Program assessment tool available for communities to determine if aging populations are being supported in four main areas: housing, community living, mobility and access and support services.
Councilmember Caryn Johnson had originally suggested the report, Corliss said. She thanked staff for researching the issue.
“I think it's very helpful for us as we go forward here and have a better understanding of how to possibly address our aging population. I, for one, am a boomer, so I fit the age group that has been referenced,” she said. “So, I appreciate staff taking the time again to do this.”
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