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Aging NH Population Part of Solution to Shrinking Budgets

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December 13, 2010

CONCORD, N.H. - Age 65 is the new 35. Ask almost any Baby Boomer about age and that's what he or she will tell you ...

There are over 170,000 New Hampshire residents over the age of 65, and according to state statistics, that number will double by the year 2030 as Boomers retire. These numbers are cause for concern for some groups that associate an aging population with an increase in need for community services, but Doug McNutt, associate director for advocacy with AARP in New Hampshire, sees seniors as part of the solution for communities, through volunteerism.

"People over 65 are an enormous resource because the population is growing; they have a lot of skills, and they have the desire to help people in their communities, and we have to use them as a resource, and we have to stop thinking of them as a negative and think of them as a positive."

McNutt says 70 percent of New Hampshire's AARP members have expressed the desire to volunteer in their communities and see volunteering as a way to help solve problems.

Libby Hanna is the state program specialist for the Corporation for National and Community Service in Concord; her group oversees three programs that utilize over 3300 senior volunteers in a number of capacities.

"The amount of work that they do and the impact on the communities they have are just huge, just touching countless lives though mentoring and working with people in their homes, to volunteering in hundreds of different community agencies across the state."

Hanna says volunteers through the Foster Grandparent Program, Senior Companions, and Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) collectively log over 600,000 hours per year.

Aging statistics are at www.aarp.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH