More than 1.3 million Coloradans are about to start turning 65—a population shift that will redefine senior health and living.
They fought for civil rights, welcomed women to the workforce en masse, and even made being eco-friendly cool. Now, the baby boomers—America’s largest generation at 77 million strong—are tackling a new frontier: senior citizenship. With their characteristic optimism, laudable audacity, incessant work ethic, and, well, sheer numbers, the boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have altered the way our nation—and thus, our state—has operated at every stage of their lives. “This is a very demanding demographic,” says Jennifer Schaufele, executive director for the Denver Regional Council of Governments. “There’s no reason to think that their aging is going to change that.” In fact, it’s a near certainty the coming wave of mature boomers will leave a serious wake as they motor into this life stage.
In Colorado, the baby boomer bulge is expected to more than double the state’s 65-plus population in the next 16 years. And although we’re not Arizona yet, the word is out that the Centennial State is a plum retirement destination: The Milken Institute’s Best Cities for Successful Aging rankings have Denver at 22 out of 100 large metro areas in the United States; Colorado Springs made Money Magazine’s 2013 list for best places to retire; and AARP The Magazine listed Loveland-Fort Collins as one of the top 15 retirement “dream towns” for boomers in the country. All of which means the transformation of the senior lifestyle here in Colorado—encompassing living arrangements as well as physical, emotional, financial, social, and mental health—is officially underway. Whether you’re entering the 65 and better set yourself, trying to help your parents or other relatives navigate their golden years, or just keeping an eye on what your long-term future might look like, here’s how these significant changes may impact you.