Chesterfield County poised for increase in seniors - - The News for South Mississippi

Chesterfield County poised for increase in seniors


Population projections suggest Chesterfield County's make-up is changing. Seniors could outnumber young people as soon as six years from now.

Thelma and Ray Kiesel have been married for decades, and they've made Chesterfield County home, like thousands of other seniors.

In anticipation of aging baby boomers, the county is planning for how to handle the changing demographic. An "Age Wave" team has been assembled to help make the transition smoother.

"There are certainly some things, such as transportation and universal access and things," said Scott Gilchrist with the Department of Social Services. "Those are all things that we have discussed in our group."

The list of issues that will have to be considered is a long one. The team will look at how the county might be impacted financially, what government service needs may need to be changed, and how community planning might tackle problems, before they happen.

"Is there a convenient senior living where I can walk maybe to a drug store, the grocery store, a doctor's office?" explained Gilchrist, giving examples of some of the considerations made by the team.

Thelma and Ray say, for them, the priority is a bigger senior center. There is senior programming in the county, but they'd like to see a bigger, central facility.

"If we had a larger building, there's so much more that we could do for the seniors, but we're restricted. Even now, we're having to turn people away," Thelma explained, adding that seniors, like them, need the chance to get out and socialize.

"To get the support, to get the love, to get the fellowship," said Thelma. "The sharing is so important. A chance to get out and do things with other people rather than sit at home."

They're all issues the team will examine, with a report for the County in a few months.

"We want everybody to have the highest quality of life possible," said Gilchrist.

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