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Changing Demographics: "Silver Tsunami" as a Golden Opportunity

As the table below shows, Larimer County, along with the rest of the nation, is going through an unprecedented demographic shift. With more than one-half of the Baby Boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) now age 50 and older, the nation and our local community is increasingly becoming populated by older adults.

201-20142014-20192019-20242010-2024 overall
85 and over15%11%15%47%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau and Colorado Division of Local Government

This shift creates an interesting paradox, as it brings with it a considerable increase in needs for services (the so-called “Silver Tsunami”), while also bringing many potential benefits to the community (our “Golden Opportunity”). The PAFC is committed to helping our community both address the challenges and maximize the opportunities that arise when we take advantage of the skills and passions of older adults. We recognize that while seniors may have specialized needs, they can also provide critical benefits when their latent potential is tapped. Engaging this paradox is an important part of the ongoing community conversation the PAFC has been fostering.

Some of the key trends that are apparent at the national level include:

  • Advances in medical and related sciences, coupled with trends in exercise and healthy lifestyles, suggest that people will not only live longer but the number of those living be- yond the age of 85 will continue to grow along with the need for supportive services.

  • Baby Boom retirees have a stronger desire to make contributions beyond traditional re- tirement.

  • People are likely to stay in the workforce longer than ever before.

The older adult population is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse.

In 2014, the Larimer County Office on Aging contracted with the National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) to conduct an assessment of the strengths and needs of residents 60 and over in Larimer County. Overall, almost all of Larimer County’s older residents gave high ratings to the community as a place to live. Nine in ten of the respondents to the survey indicate they plan to stay in Larimer County throughout their retirement.

Much of the planning for this demographic swell must be led at the local, not just the national, level. Planning should include a wide variety of stakeholders. Such communities, filled with civically engaged older adults, can be centers of human potential. It is this vision that has led to the formation of the Partnership and its commitment to a livable community for all ages.

Table from Larimer County, CO 2014 Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults 


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