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SENIOR ADVOCATE

By Liza Horvath

 

The Collision of Baby Boomer with Seniorhood

 

In December 2011, the AARP Policy Institute released a report entitled, “Aging in Place: A State Survey of Livability Policies and Practices.” The study and subsequent report sought educate state legislators on how to develop laws, policies and programs that would support seniors as they age and specifically help seniors “age in place.” Besides the obvious statement that most seniors would like to remain at home throughout their later years, a focus on this demographic by policy makers is crucial due to the sheer magnitude of the population that is now entering seniorhood. According to the United States Census, by the year 2020 there will be 73,769,000 seniors, age 60 and over, living in the U.S. Yep, the boomers are crashing into their senior years and yet again driving government focus along with the free capital markets.

 

With this increasing concentration of wealth and age-related needs comes, as expected, a growth in services and products catering to aging Americans and this growth can be seen in many sectors. Proctor & Gamble, for instance, has historically made diapers and other products for babies but, after recognizing the slowdown in birth rate and the growing ranks of older Americans, P&G has now begun to produce incontinence products for adults along with other products that specifically target the needs (and buying power) of the senior demographic.

 

Enhanced focus, however, can have its drawbacks. Unscrupulous individuals or overreaching service providers may view the senior market as easy targets with lots of bucks at their disposal and, unfortunately, that vulnerability may be true. Just reading fellow columnist Peter Hoss’s articles on the growing problem of senior scams emphasizes the escalating problem.

 

Thankfully, part of the AARP report and some resulting organizations have recognized the potential for abuse and are offering some protection. The National Aging in Place Council was formed with the mission of establishing a network of professionals from private, public and non-profit sectors who can help seniors with housing and care needs.  Locally, Teresa Sullivan of the Alliance on Aging and Galen Call of Treehouse Mortgage, have joined together to form the Central Coast of California chapter of  the National Aging in Place Council. Call, as Chair, and Sullivan, as Vice Chair, are bringing together professionals who share the common vision of helping seniors age in place and stay safe, secure and, for a long as possible, independent.

 

Area professionals and non-profit organizations who provide services to seniors in the financial, elder care, legal, housing and health care fields, among others, are invited to join. Existing members of the local chapter will review the application and, if the professional passes this vetting, they then apply at the national level. The national office performs background and license screening and, if approved, recommends membership. Once accepted, members agree to adhere to a strict code of ethics and they are encouraged to continue to expand their services to seniors. Contractors, for instance, are asked to seek specific education and certification to help them identify and adequately address senior housing needs. More information can be found at www.aginginplace.org.

 

Organizations like the National Aging in Place Council along with others like Legal Services for Seniors and the Carmel Foundation have long understood that seniors may need some help along the way. Dedicated individuals like Call and Sullivan are helping form a good network to support our local senior demographic – all good things!

Liza Horvath has over 30 years experience in the estate planning and trust fields and is the president of Monterey Trust Management, a financial and trust management company. This is not intended to be legal or tax advice. If you have a questions call (831)646-5262 or email liza@montereytrust.com

 


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