The number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to more than double by 2025, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Howard County officials want to be ready for that future, County Executive Ken Ulman announced this week.
The county's Office on Aging, part of the Department of Citizen Services, is joining with local architectural and planning firm KGRW & Associates to develop a master plan for Howard's aging population.
“We need Howard County to be the best place to live, work and play for every segment of the population, and that means for older adults,” Ulman said in a statement. “Our great quality of life must be available to all residents. We know the trend lines, and we are doing our best to prepare for the changes that are coming.”
The launch of the aging population master plan study comes about a year after County Council member Courtney Watson, a Democrat who represents Ellicott City and Elkridge, requested that the county take a look at whether current facilities, services and other resources for Howard's seniors would be adequate to accommodate their growing numbers. The council included money in the fiscal year 2014 budget to support the study.
“We owe it to our parents, grandparents and loved ones to make sure we are doing all we can to accommodate their unique needs,” Watson said of the aging master plan, in a statement. “Older adults deserve the very best services we can provide. We can meet this challenge.”
The county has scheduled two public informational meetings on the master plan project: the first, on May 28 at 11 a.m., will be held in the Miller branch library in Ellicott City, and the second, on June 3 at 7 p.m., will be held in Columbia's Bain Center. The county also plans to create an online survey for citizens to share their thoughts.
The study is expected to be complete by November. Other consultants working on the project include the Institute for Alternative Futures, a futures studies firm, and the Boomer Project, a market research firm that specializes in planning and programming for senior populations.