Eight Resources for Healthy Aging in Portland, Oregon. By Michelle Walch

Do not fear growing old. Long years of productivity await. Society is responding in a positive way.

Do not fear growing old. Long years of productivity await. Society is responding in a positive way.

Did you know that by 2050 there will be more people aged 60 than people under the age of 14? Did you also know that Portland, Oregon is considered a pioneer in age inclusion? The World Health Organization selected Portland in 2011 for a study in aging. To clarify: Portland is not age friendly per se, but is taking steps to becoming age friendly. You can read about that here.

Youth culture has long presided in the U. S. and has marginalized older people, makes fun of them, dismisses them. Newsflash: we all grow old. Even better newsflash, thanks to improvements in healthcare and people making healthy choices to take care of themselves, humans age considerably better than previous generations. So the fountain of youth has more or less been quaffed.

Aging issues never really occurred to me. But when I became a mother at 39, I began to think about this more. Sure I could produce viable offspring at an older age, but would I be around for her has she got older? And even if I am around, what kind of shape will I be in? I want to be available for my daughter as long as I can and not be a burden on her. I save the older parents discussion for another blog post.

Portland's laying the foundation for an age-inclusive environment goes beyond senior discounts, bingo night, and housing for retirement living. Every aspect of life needs to be considered for the 55 and beyond demographic. Aspects that may not normally be thought of, such as sliver-haired people shopping. Luckily, there is a robust movement underway to see to this.

The retirement crisis has long been looming. The financial crisis of 2008 set many people back. Concerns about Social Security "running out" are explained in an article published by the Social Security Chief Actuary here and explains that low birth rates are the reason for reduced benefits. With that in in people's minds, staying employed becomes critical. Which is where agism unfortunately rears its ugly head. Which is also where Age Friendly Businesses will start to be recognized.

Many solo business owners, some of them seniors themselves, run businesses that cater to those 50 and older. Many start up solo businesses don't cater to any one age group. They are simply the business owner's dream, but also done out of necessity. The businesses are has diverse and dynamic as the demand.

But where ever you are in life, what older people are going through is going to affect you. And if you live in the Portland area, there is an increase in options that address elderly issues.

Below is a list of resources available in Portland, Oregon that promote healthy aging. This list is be no means exhaustive.

  1. Thriving at Home. Founder and Owner Patty Bennett wanted to create conditions for older people who are infirm but still able to stay in their homes. Her business Thriving at Home works with seniors and their families to provide non-medical services.

  2. Support or Seniors in Transitions.  Suzanne VanSlyke wanted to help seniors as a case manager.  One of her areas is crisis care.

  3.  Urban Excursions. Polly Bangs saw a need to help Alzheimer's patients stay social and get out into the community.  Urban Excursions takes people to a variety of places.  

  4.  Home Esteem. Miyoko Fuse worked as a translator. When the economy tanked in 2008, she looked for a second career. She realized that housing will always be something people need. She combined that interest with feng shui and aging in place concepts, and started her business Home Esteem.

  5. Boomers on the Loose Portland activity guidebook. Janet Farr worked as a technical writer, and wanted to write a book. She also likes to help people learn, and wanted to create a resource for Baby Boomers. So she wrote a Portland activity guidebook for the 60+ crowd: Book Link and Facebook page.

  6. Better Smarter Richer . Jackie B. Peterson is a business adviser, and teaches classes at the CLIMB Center and the Encorepreneur Cafe. She teaches classes specifically aimed at older adults considering a second career. Visit her web site to learn more and buy her books.

  7. Encorepreneur Cafe. A meeting place set up for older people who want to start a second career/business. Inter-generational collaborations are encouraged.

  8. Upside of Downsizing - Mary and Jerry Spann. Provide education and resources for those 50 years and older. They help people learn how to simplify their lives by unloading what is not needed.

Find this article helpful?  Know someone who is looking for any of these resources?  Share using the the links below.