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Senior New Yorker population booms; New York needs a plan: Stringer

“As we face significant demographic changes, we need to reimagine how we support our current and future seniors," the city comptroller said.
As the New York City population ages, the MTA expects Access-A-Ride usage to double tErnst Moeksis/Flickr

Baby boomers are reaching retirement age and federal budget cuts proposed by President Trump, which could affect Medicaid and Medicare, are causing concern for many older Americans.

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released a report on Tuesday entitled “Aging with Dignity: A Blueprint for Serving NYC’s Growing Senior Population,” laying out possible solutions to challenges facing New Yorkers 65 and older.

From 2005 to 2015, the number of seniors in the city grew 19.2 percent — triple the growth rate of New Yorkers under the age of 65 — according to the study. The Department for the Aging’s budget is 0.4 percent of the entire city budget, which is about $300 per senior in fiscal year 2017’s enacted budget, a spokesman for Stringer explained.

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“We need to act today — not tomorrow. Seniors are the anchors of our communities, and we must ensure they have the support they deserve,” Stringer said.

“As we face significant demographic changes, we need to reimagine how we support our current and future seniors.”

More than 40 percent of senior-headed households depend on government programs for half of their income, with many paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent, according to the study.

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“Our approach should help more New Yorkers stay in their homes and age in place — it’s cheaper, it’s smarter, it allows New Yorkers to remain involved in their communities.”

Other issues explored in the study include transportation, accessibility to senior centers and safety.

Despite being 13 percent of the city’s population, adults over 65 made up 39 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in 2014, according to the study.

Stringer’s proposals also include figures on tax credits, MTA Access-A-Ride growth and reliability, the need for amenities like bus shelters and housing options. Click here to read the full study.

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