'Silver Tsunami' putting stress on services.
Texas is being hit with what some call a "silver tsunami" -- a wave of retirees and aging immigrants moving into the Lone Star State. But are we equipped to handle them all?
Twelve years ago, retirees accounted for 7% of Harris County's population. That number will more than double by 2036, and triple just four years later.
University of Houston Professor Andy Achenbaum has studied and written about America's aging population, and believes at this point, Houston is not yet prepared to handle the influx of older residents.
"In the next ten years, people like me who arrived 12 years ago and who are now 65, may need more social support and more health care services that are currently available," says Achenbaum.
One area of concern is affordable living, since roughly one in 10 retirees locally live in poverty. Houston has 30 state licensed care facilities; however Dallas has just 13 and Austin only one.
Achenbaum says more facilities are needed in places like Meyerland, even downtown.
"Everyone looks at downtown as this Yuppie haven, and it certainly is," he says. "But there are lots of people like me who walk the streets in the afternoon, and in the next decade who knows what our health care is going to be like? Who knows what Medicare will be? Who knows where Social Security is going to be?"
Many retirees are disabled, and in dire need of assistance for bathing, dressing, grooming, even meal preparation and managing medications.
Jane Bavineau is with a group called Care for Elders, she remains hopeful that officials are making strides to address those needs.
"We have always had greater needs for older people than there are resources to meet them," says Bavineau. "However, I really feel that the organizations in Houston have come together in a way that's really unique to make a significant difference."