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Henry Cisneros on Policies to Help California Seniors Age in Place

California's aging baby-boomer population has policymakers and developers thinking about how to let them age at home. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California may be the sixth youngest state right now. But it has an outsized population of Baby Boomers.

“They are turning 65 soon,” says Adele Hayutin, a Senior Research Scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity.

“We’ll have a doubling of our older population over the next 20 years,” Hayutin says. “That makes us aging faster than the United States, which I think is a bit of a surprise to people.”

In a recent paper, Hayutin wrote that projections show in 2040 California’s population will be slightly older than the nation’s as a whole. That has implications for policy makers, developers, and residents — everyone who lives here will feel the effect.

And the sooner the planning starts the better, says Henry Cisneros.

Cisneros is the former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton. He just co-edited a book with two scholars at Stanford – Jane Hickie and Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain – called “Independent for Life: Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging America.

“When we listen to older Americans themselves,” Cisneros says, “when they describe the things they fear about aging in place … it’s things like isolation, being left alone and not being able to negotiate neighborhood streets. Not being able to get to the doctor or grocery store.” Continue reading