Start the Conversation to Face Aging

There will be 285,000 more seniors living in Minnesota at the end of this decade than there were in 2010, more growth than we saw in the last four decades combined. By 2031, 25% of the population will be over age 65; of that group 9% will be over 75 and 3% will be over 85 years old.

Our state has never seen a demographic shift like this before and it has profound implications for housing, healthcare, employment and nearly every other aspect of life. It will affect every person, family and community in our state.

“It’s important for each of us to have a conversation about aging and how it how it affects all of us,” said Jon Lundberg, Vice President of Operations of Ebenezer, which offers a range of senior housing, programs and services throughout the metro area. “Planning for how you want your future years to look is one part of this conversation: do you want to live at home as long as possible and if so how will you get the care you need? How do you envision living the last great chapters of life? Don’t avoid this important topic. After all, if you’re lucky, you’ll get old, too!”

If a person is younger, such a planning conversation is a good one to have with parents or grandparents who are further along on their aging journey. The goal is to have a family conversation before a crisis forces difficult decisions. But we can’t stop at the family conversation.

“It’s also a broader conversation we need to have as a larger community. What does it mean for our community that we will soon have more seniors than school kids?” said Tom Pollock, Administrator of Park River Estates Care Center, a skilled nursing facility in Coon Rapids. “How does this impact local businesses? Our housing needs? Our church communities? Our healthcare needs? Our need for employees with certain skills? The growth in the aging population is really a fundamental issue facing all of us today.”

Want additional ideas for starting this conversation in your family or community? Take a look at our conversation starters.

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