Head to Roseville, Minnesota, and you’ll find yourself in one of the oldest suburbs in the country.
Not too long ago, PBS did a special report called “Real Housewives of Roseville: A Blueprint America Special Report”, as part of their popular Need to Know series.
Take 12 minutes to watch this interesting piece on the quiet Northern town, which is just one of many across the country who are as yet unprepared for the “age tsunami”:
According to the report, 1 in 5 suburbanites will be a senior by 2030, just 19 years from now. Schoolchildren are soon to be outnumbered by this elder population, and without major changes to transportation, housing, and infrastructure, many of these 65+ers may find themselves trapped in the suburbs.
If you don’t have a car (or can no longer drive the one you have), the suburbs are not a good place to be. You cannot walk to the doctor’s office or the market; in many housing developments, you cannot walk to the corner to pick up public transportation either. Without adequate transportation, seniors in the suburbs are isolated and have tremendous difficulty accessing services and meeting basic needs.
Featuring several Roseville residents and area business/community leaders representing organizations who are concerned about the lack of sufficient services, the report raises several important questions and presents a number of pressing needs facing the system.
In Roseville, buildings have been retrofitted (senior centers are meeting in schools), Meals on Wheels is delivering, and some transportation is being provided (catch the part about the lady going out for her lunch & Bloody Mary?), but Roseville’s senior residents are still highly dependent on their adult children or other caregivers/services to fill in the gaps. Even with this support, it’s still quite a precarious situation for some of these seniors.
With more people moving to/settling in the suburbs, fewer families having children, and federal/state/local funding streams drying up, we truly have a crisis on our hands, considering the massive numbers of folks needing services in the immediate future, not to mention the increasing complexity of care required by these older adults (i.e. Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, disability, etc.).
Where do we begin?
Roseville has made an impressive start, and I’m glad to see that there are communities who are aware of this crisis and have been moved to action accordingly. But there is still much to be done to shape the future of senior housing and services…how will you help?