Retirement communities prepare for 'age wave' in Central VA

Retirement communities prepare for 'age wave' in Central VA

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There are more people to celebrate in this Older Americans Month as the elderly population in Virginia continues to grow.

According to the U.S. Census, in 2013 the 65 and older population in Virginia was 1,105,559. In 2014, the most recent year polled, that number jumped to 1,146,886.

Peter Robinson, the vice president of Marketing and PR for Lifespire of Virginia, says there are a few reasons why this is happening.

"The long-term driver of this trend is our increasing life expectancy," Robinson said. "I don't think people realize from the year 1900 to today or early 21st century, life expectancy has just about doubled."

The Lakewood Community, one of Lifespire's retirement communities in the Richmond area, has been preparing for what's being called an "age wave" -- or as society grows older -- and fast.

Robinson expects to expand the facility exponentially by 2019.

Buddy Hamilton, 100, lives at Lakewood's facility. Hamilton is a father of three, grandfather of eight and great grandfather of seven. He had a few answers for the "What's the secret to live to 100," question.

"In in the first place, I chose my parents very carefully," Hamilton said, laughing. "I've exercised all my life one way or the other and I finally got to eating properly."

According to The Greater Richmond Age Wave,  in 2020, for first time in history, there will be more people over the age of 60 than children 5 to 18.

The Chesterfield Community has seen a steady increase in the elderly population too. Two and a half years ago, Chesterfield officials started working to address it by creating an age range coalition, looking at areas like transportation and housing for the elderly.

Currently, they are even starting to ask for a gr ant to hire a part-time person to lead their age wave effort.

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