Worldwide, for the first time in history, people 65 years and older outnumber children. By 2030, one in every five Americans will be over 65 years of age.
According to the State Demography Office, in a report by Elizabeth Garner for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, published in 2018: The population by age Chaffee County has an older age distribution than the state with a larger share of the population over age 50.
Due to the aging of the current population, the 70- to 79-year-old age group is expected to see the largest increase of all age cohorts over the next decade.
In the same report it was noted: Population Forecast: Chaffee is forecast to increase from 19,097 in 2016 to 23,000 in 2030 and 25,300 by 2040. Faster growth is expected in the near and mid-term with slower growth out between 2030 and 2040.
Most of the growth over the next 10 years is forecast in the 20- to 50-year-old age range. This means more families.
According to the Alpine Achievers Initiative, “There are a number of established childcare and in-home childcare providers in Chaffee County, but they are minimally meeting the needs of families. Most of these providers have wait lists that exceed 2 years.”
According to the Colorado State Demographer, Chaffee has 300 children under the age of one.
Montessori Intergenerational Learning Communities provides Montessori Early Childhood education combined with community day services for aging adults, including those with dementia.
MILC will serve as a community hub for people navigating both ends of the age continuum, providing education and support for both families with young children and for those caring for an aging adult at home.
We intend to bring MILC to Buena Vista. We plan to put in a proposal to house MILC in the building recently vacated by Colorado Mountain College located on CR 319.
This location would serve as classrooms for our youngest citizens within a combined day community for our oldest citizens.
Creating a space for both populations to learn and interact together in a controlled, respectful environment.
Research tells us that social isolation of aging adults can result in more health issues and a 50 percent higher mortality rate.
In an intergenerational community both planned and organic interactions happen daily for both the children and the aging adults in the community.
Combined programing provides an opportunity to learn new skills and holds promise for increased self-esteem for both populations by providing a strong link to community through shared experiences and problem solving.
Through these interactions, a greater awareness of the issues facing both generations is achieved and the barriers which create ageism are broken down.
“No matter the age of the person, participation in everyday life develops a feeling of worthiness in a person called upon to share it in an active way.”
– Silvia Montanaro