New Hampshire’s population is now ranked 7th oldest nationwide in median age. As the baby-boomer generation approaches retirement age, the state faces major issues in providing adequate health and social services. Is anybody planning for this? Plymouth State University is serving as host for New Hampshire’s first-ever aging summit, “EngAging NH”, October 16, marking the first step in what co-organizer Dr. Stephen Gorin hopes is a new approach in how N.H. deals with aging issues.
Dr. Gorin, PSU social work professor, was a New Hampshire delegate to the White House Conference on Aging last year and is an expert on aging issues. Gorin is also PSU’s representative to the EngAging NH initiative.
“We’re really interested in creating a society in which everybody can maximize their potential and age well. In addition to an advocacy network, we also hope to create a public policy center on issues affecting the aging population. We’d love to see it based at Plymouth State University,” says Gorin.
Dr. Gorin believes creating an aging advocacy network will help reduce problems for the aging population, especially baby-boomers who are 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.
“Providing a voice in communities and in Concord for older adults needs to happen now, so when these people need services or representation in some way, they won’t be alone,” Gorin said.
New Hampshire is not alone in raising concern about the aging demographic. According to the Associated Press, a recent survey of more than 1,790 towns, counties and other municipalities by the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Area Agencies on Aging shows less than half of the nation’s communities have begun preparing to deal with the needs of the elderly, whose ranks will swell dramatically with the aging of the baby boomers. 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.
“EngAging NH” is an ‘invitation-only’ event, with about 120 older adults, community advocates, government officials and students attending. It will be held Monday, October 16 at Heritage Commons from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. “EngAging NH” is non-partisan and is funded by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.