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Aging Boomers Will Strain Senior Services

Report urges action by local governments

American communities are failing to adequately expand social programs in preparation for the huge wave of boomers who are beginning to hit their senior years, according to a report released Thursday.

Next: Boomers report no savings at all.

By 2030, more than 70 million Americans — nearly one in five — will be 65 and older. But instead of upgrading senior services, many states and municipalities are battling just to preserve what they have, because of the recession's lingering impact, the report concluded.

"These findings show that the country still has a tremendous amount of work to do in a very short amount of time to address America's rapidly rising aging population," Sandy Markwood, chief executive officer of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, said in a statement. The association produced the study, titled "The Maturing of America: Communities Moving Forward for an Aging Population."

Markwood said that governments had done an admirable job in maintaining the status quo in the face of current economic conditions. But "given the dramatic aging demographics, the status quo is not good enough."

'A major wake-up call'

"These findings should be a major wake-up call for local governments and should motivate them to take immediate actions that will address the challenge and opportunities at hand," Markwood said.

For the study, the association surveyed in 2010 more than 1,400 local governments across the nation. The communities were queried about disaster preparation, property tax relief, health care services, housing, transportation, social services, elder abuse prevention, workforce development, zoning and civic engagement. The results were compared with a similar survey done in 2005.

Next: Programs to educate older adults about financial fraud declined. >>

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