San Antonians ages 65 and over will be the focus of a hybrid panel discussion hosted by the San Antonio Report and KLRN Tuesday Sept. 19, covering an array of challenges the aging community faces.
The hour-long event titled Aging Well in Bexar County will take place at the KLRN studio and include four panelists who will answer an array of questions concerning the city’s aging population.
San Antonio Report CEO Angie Mock said a combination of aging baby boomers, lower birth rates and longer life expectancy is changing society.
“By 2034, there will be more Americans past retirement age than there are children,” she said. “We thought it would be timely and relevant to our audience to explore how this societal change will impact San Antonio across housing, wellness, transportation and employment.”
In San Antonio, the total population age 60 and over is expected to grow 20% by 2040, to 464,000 individuals. Across the country, one in five Americans will be 65 or older by the end of the decade, when the last of the baby-boom generation is set to reach age 65.
“There are a lot of needs for this elderly population,” said Liz Ruiz, journalist and part-time news anchor for KLRN who will moderate the panel. “And I want to know, is San Antonio doing as much as it can as a city to provide for the elderly [population]?”
On the panel, Dr. Sudha Seshadri, founding director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases and doctor at UT Health San Antonio, will discuss brain health.
“Even if people are not at that age where they are prone to suffer from Alzheimer’s, many are caring for their parents or their loved ones who are suffering from this,” Ruiz said.
Jane Paccione, director of the San Antonio Area Foundation’s Successfully Aging and Living in San Antonio, or SALSA program; Jim Owen, “SuperAger,” best-selling author and film producer; and Kristin Davila, president and executive director of Merced Housing Texas, will also join the panel and answer an array of questions.
“As we age, we don’t want to just get older… and [with the] technology today, people are living longer, but we want to have a quality of life. We want to still be independent as much as possible. We want to be mobile,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz, who has been a reporter for 40 years, said she has witnessed first-hand the lack of emphasis on the aging population’s needs.
“It seems like their issues are put on a backburner and they’re not given the importance or attention they need. That’s what I saw as one of the biggest problems,” Ruiz said.
For people who attend the event or watch the livestream, Ruiz said she hopes they leave knowing where to go for help they need.
“There are agencies in San Antonio and Bexar County that are here to help … We need to sit up and pay attention because our aging population is going to grow by leaps and bounds and we better be ready,” she said.
Mock said that while this is the San Antonio Report’s first forum on aging, “based on the interest level, I don’t think it will be our last. There are so many aspects to consider.”
The panel discussion will begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.