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CSU leading discussion on impending wave of retirees

November 4, 2011

With thousands of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age each day, concerns have arisen about how this population shift will impact Fort Collins.

Martin Carcasson, director of CSU's Center for Public Deliberation, will speak at the upcoming event. CSU’s Center for Public Deliberation is helping sponsor a discussion about the impending growth of the senior population in Fort Collins

“Growing Older in Fort Collins – Silver Tsunami as a Golden Opportunity” will feature guest speakers and discussion groups aimed at finding ways to prepare for the Baby Boom Generation to enter retirement. The event, which is open to the public but requires an RSVP, is Thursday, Nov. 10 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Canyon West Room in the Lincoln Center.

Retiring in waves

The “Silver Tsunami” is a phrase coined to describe the wave of retirements by Baby Boomers over the next 20 years. As many as 10,000 per day are expected to retire, which could stress existing programs in place for communities like Fort Collins.

“We’re actually trying to reframe the term ‘Silver Tsunami’ because there actually are a lot of positives about having a lot of retirees in your community,” said Martin Carcasson, director of the Center for Public Deliberation and an associate professor of communication studies. “Many retirees have funds and they are involved in the community.”

Still, there are potential problems associated with this population shift and the more prepared a community is the better it can respond. Fort Collins, Carcasson said, often shows up on “best places to live” lists, and is also considered a great place to retire.

“How do we maintain our status as a great place to live and a great place to retire?” he said. “This event is the kickoff to a larger process that we hope will lead to some answers.”

CSU students to lead discussions

Guest speakers include Janine Vanderburg from JVA Consulting, an expert on how older Americans are re-envisioning retirements, and Colorado State Demographer Elizabeth Garner. Attendees will then break into discussion groups led by CSU students who work in the Center for Public Deliberation.

“We’re hoping for a broad audience, from people who have already retired to those who will be retiring in the next 10 years or so, as well as adults that are caring for their elderly parents” Carcasson said.

The event is free and open to the public. RSVP online or by calling the Fort Collins Senior Center at (970) 221-6644. Additional sponsors include the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, the Fort Collins Senior Center and the City of Fort Collins.