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Written by: John Wolf on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 Posted in:

It’s not a secret that many cities are doing everything they can to prepare for the boom in the aging population.  What may come as a surprise is amount of change facing suburban America.

In today’s Washington Post, “If baby boomers stay in suburbia, analysts predict cultural shift” highlights 2010 census data which shows suburban population growing older much faster than cities.  In fact, today 40 percent of suburban residents are 45 or older compared to just 34 percent in the 2000 census.  And that figure will only continue to increase.

According to the AARP, nine in 10 older Americans want to stay in their homes as they age. Not all communities are prepared.

The Post reports that the baby boomers were the first generation to grow up in suburbia and now, as those boomers begin to retire, planners predict that most will not make the migration to typical retirement areas such as Florida and Arizona.  They will stay put.

What does this mean for our suburbs?  That is not entirely clear – but many are following the cities’ lead by increasing time to cross walk signals at intersections, providing more aging at home services, hosting forums on ways to make homes more user-friendly for seniors and to prevent financial abuse of elders, and creating organizations in which younger residents volunteer to drive seniors to appointments.

What is perfectly clear is that the suburbs will need to adjust – and adjust quickly – to the rapidly changing demographics.

Read the complete story in the Washington Post here.