The demographic shift that is happening in Minnesota will bring transformational change that will impact us all.
By 2020, there will be more citizens age 65 and older than there are school-age children. We must embrace this incredible opportunity, challenge conventional thinking and be more collaborative and creative in our planning to ensure a high quality of life for seniors as they age.
The needs and preferences of our aging population have changed. More and more, seniors want to remain in their homes for as long as possible and stay active and connected to their communities. This is a benefit for the communities they choose to stay connected with, keeping more experienced older workers, wise volunteers and compassionate older family members in the communities that need them.
This dynamic impacts how we view aging, how we engage our growing elder population and support their diverse needs, how we cultivate and sustain a skilled, compassionate caregiving workforce and how we fund the growing need for aging services.
It’s going to take all of us – seniors, families, caregivers, advocates, businesses, local, state and federal elected officials, and government – to anticipate and best prepare Minnesota for the needs of its aging population. The work we do together will continue our state’s legacy as one of the best states in the nation for long-term care services and support, and it begins with just one step: starting the conversation on how we can help Minnesota face aging.
Start and keep the conversation going in your community. Some of the best work we can do together is on the local level. It’s important that individuals come together to ensure their community is not only the best place to live, work and raise a family but also a great place to grow older.
There is no denying it: we are all getting older and will most likely need some level of service or support as we age. Imagine what it would be like to contribute to the development of the services you may need to age with dignity, meaning and purpose.
You can learn more about the issues we are facing as our society ages by following Face Aging MN. We want to hear your perspective on how we can best meet the needs of our aging population and those who provide them with care.
Gayle Kvenvold is President and CEO of LeadingAge Minnesota.