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Senior Population Growth Detailed in Westport

WESTPORT, Conn. – The state's 65 and older population is "growing tremendously," an expert told a roomful of people in Westport on Monday night during a Baron's South Committee community forum on senior housing.

Julie Robison, associate professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging, said data from the 2010 census shows 14.2 percent of the state's population is 65 years and older. By 2030, Robison said that population is expected to grow by 64 percent.

"Eighty percent of the aging population plan to stay in their homes and communities," Robison said, citing the results of a 2007 long-term care needs survey that polled older adults on their long-term housing plans.

For Steve Daniels, co-chairman of the Baron's South Committee, this data solidifies the importance and need for a planned senior housing and skilled nursing facility on Baron's South , 23 acres of town-owned land.

Daniels said although many seniors want to remain in their homes, expenses and other factors sometimes force often them out. When that happens, these seniors often seek other housing options in town because they want to remain in the community, he said.

"These seniors have friends and family here, are a part of clubs here, have doctors here and are familiar with the town," Daniels said.

In Westport, however, there aren't enough affordable housing options for these seniors, forcing them to move out of town, he said. But a senior housing and skilled nursing facility on the Baron's South property would allow these seniors to continue "aging in place," Daniels said.

A conceptual plan of the Baron's South development calls for a 66-unit senior housing facility and a skilled nursing facility with 84 beds. On May 5, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a text amendment would allow for such a development on the property.

The Baron's South Committee is meeting with the Representative Town Meeting, the town's legislative body, on Aug. 9 and will hold a second community forum on Sept. 26.

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