A survey of more than 1,790 towns, counties and other municipalities found that just 46 percent are looking at strategies to deal with aging America.
The issue is critical because the baby boomers - those born between 1946 and 1964 - began turning 60 this year and are rapidly approaching retirement age. By 2030, the number of people over age 65 in the United States will exceed 71 million - double the number in the year 2000, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, or n4a, one of the sponsors of the study.
The report, titled "The Maturing of America - Getting Communities on Track for an Aging Population," looks at health care and nutritional programs, transportation, public safety and emergency awareness, volunteer opportunities and other services.
Among the key findings in the report:
- Health care. In one-third of the communities surveyed, older adults do not have access to services such as health screenings, counseling on prescription drugs or health education.
- Nutrition. Some 80 percent of communities have programs providing home-delivered meals for the elderly, but just 25 percent provide nutrition education.
- Exercise. More than one-third of communities do not have fitness programs for older adults.
- Housing. Just half of communities have home modification programs to help the elderly with physical limitations stay in their houses.
- Work force development. More than 40 percent of communities do not offer formal job training or retraining programs.
- Human services. Many communities have failed to create a central point for seniors to go to seek information.
Steve - for further reading on prevention through nutrition, view Bonnie's most recent article, Aging Gracefully and the Importance of Geriatric Nutrition.