Silver tsunami – baby boomer crunch!

Gilpin County Seniors – Oldies but Goodies

By Sharon Perea

Many of us already experience the challenge of blowing out 65-plus candles on our birthday cake. Now every day 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 (born from 1946-1964) are puffing to accomplish the same feat.

Fifty years ago when John F. Kennedy designated May as Older American Month, there were 17 million Americans over 65 years old. Now our country is in midst of one of the most dramatic demographic shifts in history. Our country now has 40 million Americans over 65 and when the last “baby boomers” reach 65 years there will be 76 million American seniors.

USA comes in 11th in the world as having the highest senior population. In Colorado 11.3% of our population are seniors. The senior population has gone from 1 in 8, to 1 in 4. We are approaching the time when the number of people 65 years and older will outnumber children 15 years and under.

Gilpin County Senior Population

Gilpin County is 1 of 8 counties represented in the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG). In their 2011-2015 Area Plan on Aging report, it states that in 2010, Gilpin County’s senior population totaled 1,616. This included ages 55-64 (973), 65-74 (419), 75-84 (189) and 85+ (35). By 2015 these numbers will jump to 1,873 – if it hasn’t already!

Gilpin County, along with Clear Creek County, shares the distinction of having more 60+ male residents than female. Now that’s a switch! Gilpin County is the only county where men 75+ outnumber the females in the same age group. Now single women will know where to live!

Gilpin County Silver Tsunami

Gilpin County has its own Silver Tsunami arriving daily. However, most of them come on busses, headed for casinos and a day of entertainment and eating. They do not call Gilpin County their home.

Our county does have a diverse group of permanent senior residents. Many have family roots that go back to the early days of local miners, ranchers, business folks, etc. Others have moved up here to work, raise their family or retire. A recent survey was sent out to a small group of approximately 115 local seniors (60+). From the 55 returned surveys, 45 plan to make Gilpin County their life-time community.

A future Oldies But Goodies article will cover how our local seniors play a vital role in county businesses and volunteer positions.

A Thought to Ponder: I know my time is limited, but does that mean I should speed up or slow down?


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