Improving how we live and age in greater Kansas City
The Kansas City metropolitan area's older adult population is expected to nearly double over the next 20 years from almost 219,000 people in 2010 in the nine metro counties to over 416,000 by 2030, a 90 percent increase. Local communities, non-profit organizations, businesses and other institutions are not fully prepared to respond to this demographic trend.
KC Communities for All Ages, formerly known as KC 4 Aging in Community, was formed in 2008 to coordinate a community response to the future needs of this coming "age wave."
Our region needs to increase its capacity to support healthy lifestyles and health care for an aging population, to adequately house and support our seniors' ability to age in place, to offer mobility options that support independent living, to provide quality caregiving options, and to offer opportunities for social and civic engagement. These capacities will ensure that our region is a place where all individuals enjoy a high quality of life.
The KC Communities for All Ages initiative, an initiative of the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), will provide primary leadership to increase the region's capacity in the following areas:
The housing needs of an expanding older population will require the community to renovate residential properties to better accommodate the needs of those who wish to continue to live in their existing homes and neighborhoods, and to support the construction of new housing in locations and of types to meet their diverse needs. KC Communities for All Ages will encourage appropriate housing renovations and promote new housing choices in accessible locations.
To live independently, older Americans must be able to maintain a mobile lifestyle. Mid-America Regional Council’s Transportation Department and KC Communities for All Ages will work with the Mr. Goodcents Foundation, University of Missouri-Kansas City Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, the University of Kansas Medical Center and others to increase transportation and mobility options for older adults, and to ensure that transportation services are designed in ways that fully meet the needs of an increasingly older population.
As the baby boomer generation moves toward retirement years, many will desire or require continued employment, but in different settings and at a differing pace. The expertise offered by this potential employee-base could be of great benefit to employers across the region. KC Communities for All Ages will work with existing organizations to identify ways for these older adults to become involved and contribute, to engage in life-long learning and maintain important social connections.
The dramatic increase in the number of frail elderly in the next 20 years will require a larger caregiver workforce and more support for family and friends who care for older parents, relatives and friends. KC Communities for All Ages will continue to support the development of a quality professional workforce, as well as support for family members and friends on how to offer care, as well as how to choose caregivers, to best meet the needs of the frail elderly.
The larger older adult population in metropolitan Kansas City will require more health care services, although access to healthier lifestyles and preventive care could help reduce needed services. The KC Communities for All Ages initiative will work with regional partners to promote healthy lifestyles and preventive care.
KC Communities for All Ages will continue to educate the community around the needs of an expanding older adult population and what steps individuals, organizations, employers and communities should take in response to this demographic trend.
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Just as baby boomers redefined major aspects of society, such as public education, work and leisure in the second half of the 20th century, they will similarly redefine it in the 21st century. Data for this metro demographic description was taken from the 2010 U.S. Census Report. However, limitations remain in our ability to project population trends over the next 30 years. Given these conditions, what can we surmise about Greater Kansas City’s 65 and over population today, tomorrow, 20 and 30 years from now, and what information will we need to prepare for these demographic changes?
Despite improvements, data limitations about the 65 and over population remain an impediment to community planning. Some of the more glaring gaps in existing data from greater Kansas City include:
Aging trends are not projected to occur evenly across all nine counties. Jackson County is predicted to have the largest 65 and over population in 2030 – one out of every five residents. But it won’t be long after 2030 when the largest 65 and over population will reside in Johnson County.
The largest increases in 65 and over adults are projected to occur in the suburban and rural counties of Johnson, Miami and Platte.
The trend appears to be for older adults to move to areas where their adult children may live and be raising families.
|Population Age 66+|
|County||2000||2010||2020||2030||% Change 2010-2030|
Resources Data analysis for this report was completed by the Midwest Center for Non-profit Leadership at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Data was provided by the Mid-America Regional Council and from the sources cited below.
Stanford Center on Longevity, “New Realities of an Older America”
Department of Health and Human Services, “A Profile of Older Americans: 2011”
AARP Public Policy Institute Fact Sheet, “The New Reality: Important Facts about America’s Seniors”
FCDC Press Release