Portland pushes ahead with effort to become more age-friendly

(KATU Photo)

Studies show Portland's aging population, across every racial and economic divide, will change dramatically in the not-too-distant future.

Population projections by Metro across the Portland area through 2060 show baby boomers, Gen-X, and even millennials will all eventually add to an already aging population.

In 2013, Portland started studying that change and designing ways to help older people stay connected to the community.

"I haven't seen it reach out to me. I don't know. But I'm doing OK," said retired Portland Professor Irene Hecht.

"We've made a lot of progress. And the project was initially a research project but evolved into a project that was in coordination with the city of Portland and later Multnomah County," said Portland State University Professor Doctor Alan DeLaTorre.

DeLaTorre told Portland's City Council in a report Wednesday that efforts to set aside affordable housing for seniors, keep them involved in the community and connect them with employment opportunities are all working better than when those studies started.

But he says more can be done.

"Including things like dementia-friendly aspects," said DeLaTorre. "How does somebody who's experiencing dementia or Alzheimer's or other cognitive impairment use the city in a way that they have not been able to use it, in the future."

City Commissioner Nick Fish wants to push the senior-friendly effort forward because he believes seniors are vital to a vibrant community.

"We view them as a tremendous resource in our city. So, whatever we can do at a policy level to encourage them to move here and live here is a good thing," said Fish.

Hear from Dr. Alan DelaTorre, who has studied Portland's aging population, and City Commissioner Nick Fish:


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