Guest Column: Who is the average senior citizen? | SierraSun.com

Guest Column: Who is the average senior citizen?

Sarah Hall Deardorff
Sierra Senior Services
Contributed photoSierra Senior Services provides food for dozens of locals each week.
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Recently I was asked to describe the typical person who utilizes from our Home Delivered Meal service. That is a difficult question because there is such diversity within the senior population

To begin with the ages range over four decades.

There are people who are in their 60s on the program and our oldest participant is 97 years old. Personalities remain stable over time so there are unique facets to each and every one of the seniors.

One characteristic that overwhelming becomes evident as you glance around the room is that the majority are long time locals who have aged in place. They remain in the Truckee area because they love this community and wish to be at home for the duration of their lives.

Looking over their past occupations we find the retired school teacher, business owner, ski race champion or your perhaps your neighbor.

There are some characteristics that apply to the senior population in general: The fastest growing segment of the population is the 85-plus group; Truckee will have a centenarian (age 100-plus) living in the community this May; as Baby Boomers age people over 65 will triple in the next two decades; seniors make up approximately 18 percent of Nevada County residents; women outlive men by approximately seven years; most women over the age of 75 live alone; elderly people are the least likely to change residences; and rates of institutionalization rise as one ages, the National average is only 15 percent for people 85 and older compared to 4 percent at age 65.

Aging is the one characteristic that everyone some day will experience. With the current economic conditions demand for services has increased by 30 percent this year while personal donations have reduced by 45 percent.

To find out how to volunteer, donate or offer assistance please contact Sarah Hall Deardorff, 550-7600.