Coming of Age Graying of the Suburbs – Brave New Boomers

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Area Officials Plan for a Generation That Won’t Call Itself Old And Opts to Stay Put Far From Transit and Health Services

By Annie Gowen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 16, 2007; Page A01

The first of two articles

Marshall Mundy was retired from his teaching job barely a week when he got bored with “the judge shows” on TV, found a part-time job and started lifting weights at the new community center near Glenwood. The 59-year-old was there recently, bench pressing during the free period for seniors, when he spotted one of his buddies across the room. “How’s your blood pressure?” he called out.

LIFE IN OLD FORT HUNT IN FAIRFAX On the way to the beach for a weekend getaway, Susan Conlan, who says she is in her early 60s, stops at Hollin Hall Automotive Service Station in Fort Hunt, a Fairfax County neighborhood in which 22 percent of the population is 62 or older. Conlan, a semi-retired director of a federal audit firm, has lived in the area since 1986.

Howard County has started preparing for people such as Mundy. The fitness room in its $14 million community center has been outfitted with weight machines that have features to aid baby boomers as they age, such as hydraulics to lessen pressure on stiff joints and recumbent cycles with removable seats for wheelchairs.

With the first wave of the 80 million baby boomers headed toward retirement, Washington’s suburbs are planning for what Fairfax County Supervisor T. Dana Kauffman (D-Lee) calls the “silver tsunami” — when the percentage of those 65 and older in many suburban counties is expected to double over the next 20 years. The population shift mirrors what is happening nationally and will be so significant, lawmakers and experts say, that it will affect every aspect of municipal government, including transportation, health services and public safety.

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