AUSTIN, Texas — A new study released Tuesday examines what it means to age well in the Austin area.
- Nonprofit did a survey about aging
- Austin is the 2nd fastest-growing population of adults age 65+
- Top concerns about getting older are related to financial security
AGE of Central Texas, a nonprofit dedicated to providing assistance to older adults and their caregivers, conducted the report, which aims to understand attitudes around aging. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Austin-Round Rock metro area is the second fastest-growing population of adults age 65 and older.
“All too often aging is a joke. We talk about people being ‘over the hill.’ Who on earth wants to age, if it’s seen as a terrible thing? So, the more we talk about aging as a positive life experience, I think that will help,” Annette Juba, deputy director said.
A total of 400 Central Texans took a survey in September of last year. A majority of people’s top concerns about getting older are related to financial security.
Top Concerns About Aging:
- 74 percent believe older adults will be forced out of areas in Central Texas, because of a shortage of affordable housing
- 48 percent are concerned about running out of money
- 32 percent are concerned about not having a family close to help
- 24 percent are concerned about their ability to pay taxes
Grace Morris, 77, visits the adult day center at AGE of Central Texas, daily. She said she tries to stay active, so she can remain independent. According to the survey, 21 percent of respondents said they worry about being a burden to friends and family.
“I don’t want to be a burden to my kids, either, so this way I have a little freedom to do a good thing for other people, as well as myself,” Morris said.
Researchers of the study also found that while 41 percent of people acknowledged that they are now or will be a caregiver in their lifetime, they were unaware of the costs involved in caring for older adults. Juba said one solution to consider could be to “elevate” the roles of caregivers, perhaps by increasing their salaries.
Leaders of AGE of Central Texas said they are planning to use the results of the survey to help shape and improve their services. They want expanding to underserved parts of the city, and Juba identified South Austin as one of those places.
“Aging is not necessarily the narrative of decline, death, and impairment. There are plenty opportunities to have a rich older age. We are trying to provide those to people, so that being old doesn’t seem so scary,” Juba said.