Chatham Council on Aging Making Plans Following Recent Demographics Report

KA_Chatham_Main Street Shopping Stores Shops Road23_112415CHATHAM – The Chatham Council on Aging is looking ahead after the recent release of town’s latest community needs assessment showed the town’s population is aging while younger people are leaving.

The study found that as much as 20 percent of the town could soon consist of residents aged 80 or older.

The council’s director Mandi Speakman said Chatham needs to focus on keeping some younger individuals around, in part, to take care of the elderly generations.

Speakman said the council plans on hiring a consultant to redefine its mission and influence conversations regarding transportation and housing.

“It’s not just for the seniors, it’s for the younger people we need to support those seniors,” she said.

What the assessment also clearly spelled out, according to Speakman, is that there are bold distinctions within the “elderly” demographic.

She said the residents who are 65 to 79 have different needs than those in the older, 80-plus range.

“That younger group is very different in terms of asking for help, but that older generation is independent and take pride in that,” she said. “Getting them to even accept the support that they might need to age in place is a very different dynamic.”

Speakman said the council will now try to rebrand itself in order to best serve the differentiating needs of the age gap issue.

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