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Baby boomers want more transportation, housing options to stay in central NY as they age

The group F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse is trying to keep baby boomers from leaving the area as they retire. The community group has completed a study about just how age-friendly central New York is.

Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, make up about a third of Onondaga County’s population. F.O.C.U.S. wanted to find out what would make it easier for them to stay in central New York.  

Jennifer Creighton, director of programs for the organization, says a year-long study survey showed there is a good foundation to build on.

"We have tremendous health care here, we have several walkable communities that are kind of pocket communities with services nearby, we have a lot of recreation opportunities, which are very important to boomers,” she said.

The challenge says Creighton, is for communities to offer services to let those boomers who want to age in place, in their own homes. Creighton says one big need that came up in the survey, is for safe, accessible and efficient transportation for a population that often relies on cars to get around.

“The car thing is essential to boomers. If they are car dependent now, they are not familiar with public transportation, and they don’t seem to be interested in integrating that into their lives.”

The survey also showed that boomers want affordable, innovative and accessible housing options; ways to contribute to their communities; and inter-generational social networks.  

But not all boomers want the same thing. For example, when it comes to housing.

“Some want co-housing, some want small single housing; some want to live in condos and townhouses where maintenance is taken care of; some want to live in a Golden Girls situation where multiple women living in a house sharing in the maintenance and expense and everything like that.”

Creighton says the next step is to talk to elected officials, and planning boards to help integrate some of these issues.

“We have to talk to our elected officials and our planning boards and individual communities on how to become more age friendly, by implementing some of the recommendations by making them walkable communities and safe communities.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.