You’ve probably heard of the Silver Tsunami forecast for much of the U.S., but I think we should view the onset of aging baby boomers more favorably. Let’s call it a rainbow with silver sparkles.
While metaphors aren’t my strong suit, I do have a knack for noticing trends. Here are five I’m seeing across our coverage area when it comes to older adults.
Active adult communities
I’m noticing more rezoning requests for active adult communities that target owners who are at least 55 years old, especially in Matthews, Mint Hill and the towns along western Union County.
Developers say these projects put less burden on school enrollment and traffic congestion. Many of these projects have smaller yards that require little to no maintenance by homeowners.
The knock on these projects is the fact they increase an area’s density. Opponents point to changing demographics, noting how people are waiting longer to procreate and retire.
Passive park space
Soccer fields, basketball courts and disc golf courses are fantastic amenities to have, but they are not as in demand as trails and park shelters in Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation surveys.
Not only are these passive park features less expensive to develop, but they create space for seniors to congregate and engage in less strenuous physical activity.
I’ve witnessed Waxhaw residents bristle at the thought of taking away potential park land, while Matthews and SouthPark leaders talk glowingly about pocket parks.
While I believe the hottest recreational activity in the Charlotte area is beer yoga, I would rank pickleball right up there. Older folks embrace pickleball because it’s a blend of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
Paul Nielsen helped me realize a dream earlier this year when he wrote a story about the growing pickleball movement in our area.
Towns like Matthews, Pineville and Stallings incorporate the activity in their parks and recreation offerings, while you can also find it at YMCA branches, senior centers and venues like Carolina Courts.
Home health care
Roberta Farnum told me in April about how there weren’t many in-home care companies in Charlotte when she and her husband launched Home Instead Senior Care 18 years ago.
Now there are several companies that are helping seniors age in place by performing chores and running errands. Just scanning Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of the top 500 franchises, I found 19 companies that specialize in senior care.
I recently wrote about one concept, Seniors Helping Seniors, that recruits older adults in need of part-time and flexible work to provide the care.
The internet gets a bad rap, particularly when it comes to the negativity you can find on social media. The most remarkable thing about it is how you can unlock the secrets of life with a few clicks.
You can find expert advice on everything from opening a jar to building a rocket.
But even if you aren’t internet-savvy, you can find information that can change your life through programming offered at public libraries, senior centers and organizations like PACE of the Southern Piedmont.
Even our stable of newspapers has started organizing senior expos to expose older adults to resources in the community. Our next event, the September is for Seniors Expo, starts at 9 a.m. Sept. 28 at Calvary Church, 5801 Pineville-Matthews Road in Charlotte. We’d love to see you there. Just register by calling 704-849-2261.