Longer lifespans could impact Hoover area economy
Published 3:10 pm Thursday, January 7, 2016
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
HOOVER—Thanks to medical advancements and increased awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyles, Americans today are living longer than ever. Longer life expectancies impact both personal finances and the Hoover area economy, AmeriCare President Tracy Sweatt told members of the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee during a Jan. 7 meeting.
In 2014, nearly 13 percent of the Shelby County population was age 65 or older. The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham projects this number to rise to just over 16 percent by 2025.
The larger aging population will open economic opportunities in several areas. As the population of senior citizens grows, so will demand transportation services, caretakers and assisted living facilities, Sweatt explained.
“This is the greatest opportunity than there’s ever been (in these areas),” Sweatt said. “We’re seeing transportation issues, that’s an impediment for (elderly people) to go to see a physician or a hospital.”
Sweatt said financial and banking services will also be in demand as people plan for a life lasting long past retirement.
However, planning for the future is not the only financial worry people face as they age. Sweatt noted the increasing prevalence of crimes against elderly, especially financial exploitation.
In his line of work, Sweatt says he often hears stories of caretakers or others stealing money from elderly individuals, sometimes by force or threat.
“We’re hearing stories like this everywhere,” Sweatt said. “Elderly are being held hostage and are being extorted.”
Sweatt encouraged individuals to plan ahead and determine issues such as power of attorney. He also urged children to become involved in their aging parents’ lives.
Sweatt’s company, AmeriCare, provides non-medical services, such as housekeeping, transportation, cooking and more. For more information, visit Americareofalabama.com.