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Politics & Government

State lawmakers focus on issues affecting Delaware's aging population

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Roman Battaglia
/
Delaware Public Media

State lawmakers are looking at problems facing Delaware’s aging population, and seeking solutions.

 

As a retirement hotspot, Delaware’s population is getting older as the years go by.

 

State lawmakers are anticipating the issues a graying population will bring, and gathering experts for their aging-in-place working group, which met for the first time last week.

 

Spearheading the effort is State Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos, who says adults who may be independent enough to live in their own home, but still need almost daily assistance is a group that’s been overlooked.

 

“When I talked to a lot of smart people like the ones that are on this working group, people seem flummoxed when they reach that point with a parent,” said Mantzavinos. “And it’s before that period where there might be a facility involved.”

 

And those aging-in-place individuals will continue to have a greater effect on the overall economy, as their houses don’t go on the market, and the job market continues to see further retirements.

 

And St. Francis Healthcare executive director Amy Milligan says the caregiver workforce for aging Delawareans isn’t strong enough.

 

“It’s hard to hire people right now, and I think a lot of that’s post pandemic,” Milligan said. “But I really think as a state, we need healthcare and medical providers anyway — but when you really expand your population to the elderly, to keep them aging-in-place you’re gonna need much more robust options than I think we have.”

 

Mantzavinos says the working group’s focus will be on specific areas: Racial and health equity, the 21st century caregiver workforce, combating loneliness and financial and legal barriers to aging-in-place.

 

The aging-in-place group will meet frequently this year to come up with legislative solutions for consideration in January.

 

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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