2015-12-11 / Letters

Lack of interest in AARP grant is ‘stunning’

To the editor:

Your article about the appalling lack of interest from our selectmen in the welfare of Kennebunk’s senior citizens was stunning. Putting aside Ed Karytko’s absurd remark regarding AARP, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership group for seniors over 50, advocating for their interests and general welfare, it is a shame that money could not be found to complete the survey of the town’s elderly citizens.

According to Ai-Jen Poo’s recent study of aging and the coming elder boom in the United States, “The Age of Dignity,” every eight seconds an American turns 65, more than 10,000 people a day, 4 million per year.

By the year 2030, 20 percent of our population will be 65, and a startling 11.5 million will be 85 by 2035. The fact that 30 percent of Kennebunk’s residents are 65 or older is astonishing.

Whether we like it or not, our community will have to face up to some serious challenges in the next decade regarding the care of our elderly.

One such challenge for the future will be home care, which has the fastest-growing workforce in the country, as related by recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number is expected to grow as the population ages and people live longer.

Most seniors would prefer to live at home rather than go to a nursing facility. How will this be paid for as the population ages rapidly; who will care for the elderly living at home, and how will they be compensated; how will the elderly find transportation, especially as there is virtually no public transport in the Kennebunks and surrounding areas; where will our seniors live considering there is very little affordable housing in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport?

These are moral and public policy questions that deserve our attention. They need not be pushed aside.

Our elderly citizens have contributed to our society in myriad ways and we owe it to them to make their lives as full as possible.

Bevan Davies

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