Plan now for rising population of people 65 and over

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Karin Housley put the spotlight on a very important issue while campaigning in Marshall Tuesday.

She claims that by the year 2030, the population of people living in Minnesota ages 65 and over will double. She said the scary part is that there will only be one working Minnesotan for every 21 adults over the age of 65.

A study by the Wilder Foundation three years ago found that the elderly are the largest growing homeless population in the state, which is probably more of a problem in the metro area. But homes for seniors will become a major issue in rural areas like southwest Minnesota as well.

As more seniors age, the chances of them living at home dwindles. More residents will be suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease or other severe health care issues.

Are we ready?

Avera Health Marshall (hospital) recently announced the addition of a memory care program. Affiliated Community Medical Center also claims to offer help with elderly care issues.

But governments from Washington, D.C., St. Paul, local counties and cities will need to prepare now. Some of the planning will involve development of alternative housing or adequate care centers. Other planning may involve easier transportation to medical facilities.

But starting to plan now is vital.