Colorado Experiences Influx of Seniors

November 29 2004, 6:38 AM

When we think retirement, usually Arizona, Florida and Palm Springs come to mind. No more. Colorado has made the big league. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that droves of seniors have relocated to Colorado Springs.

Based on 2000 census figures, Colorado's senior population is expected to increase from 418,000 to more than 1 million in 2030, according to the Colorado Demography Office, a division of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

Colorado Springs already has witnessed more than its proportionate share of the influx. El Paso is only one of Colorado's 63 counties, but it is home to 9 percent of the state's seniors. What's so attractive about Colorado Springs? For starters, it has a lower cost of living than other retirement capitals. For military retirees, there's the added bonus of big discounts at the Air Force commissaries and activities provided by military social organizations which take their cue from country clubs. Nationally, the baby boomer population will cause the senior population to double over the next 30 years from 35 million to 70 million. A proportionate number will decide to relocate here. Who can blame them? Yet, some fear it will strain our public services, from health care to transportation. Maybe not, if our local governments are smart and begin budgeting now. How about offering tax incentives to companies willing to build more assisted living facilities and affordable senior housing. "Colorado -- Senior Capital of the Nation." It sure beats some other titles I can think of.