In less than six years, experts say one out of every four people in Hawaii will be a senior citizen. It's being called the "Silver Tsunami."
As the baby-boomers age, Hawaii's senior population is rapidly increasing. The statistics are staggering. According to the State's Executive Office on Aging, the 2010 census showed between 1980 and 2010, the older population increased by 139% while the total population only grew by 34%. The growth in the number of seniors 85 years or older is even more dramatic, growing by 431% for the same 30 year period. And in a little more than five years, the number of people age 85 and older — the frail elders, who need the most help — will rise by one-third, to a total of about 40,000 people.
Lanakila Meals on Wheels is a lifeline. Their volunteers bring over 200,000 meals to seniors every year. They also provide companionship and a link to other services helping seniors stay in their homes and avoid more costly care. But no single program can meet the needs of our growing senior population.
Nonprofit service providers are working together to coordinate services, but everyone needs to come together as a community – nonprofits, government and the private sector – to care for our elders.