Over a year ago, a cohort of public service fellows in senior positions in local government in Northern Virginia chose to  host a forum, “Is the Washington Metropolitan Region Ready for the ‘Senior Tsunami’?” that was hosted at George Mason University, bringing together leaders from local governments (both administrators and elected), not-for-profits, academia, healthcare providers and businesses to discuss the impending impacts of the aging population on state and local governments and the Northern Virginia region as a whole. Larry Minnix, President and CEO of LeadingAge and a member of the LTQA, participated in this critical forum, an Audiovisual of which can be viewed below.

Full Audio on YouTube

Subsequently, especially after being invited to participate in the Long Term Quality Alliance Innovative Communities Summit, this same cohort accepted a more difficult challenge: putting together a guide/resource book for local and state governments throughout the country on Innovations in Aging.

The combination of the conference and the summit made clear that State and local governments must fundamentally change how they do business, raise revenue, adapt infrastructure and provide services in order to respond to this rapid aging of their populations. These governments will need to address their senior populations in the context of the variety of roles they play in our communities. Older adults comprise a significant proportion of: local government employees and retirees; the residents who will need more comprehensive and coordinated services to remain in their homes; and the consumers, taxpayers and human capital needed to improve the quality of life for all. It was clear to us, especially from the kind of creativity and commitment we learned through the LeadingAge Leadership Conference, that local and state governments are entering a sea change of demography–a change that creates challenges and opportunities.

This publication was produced by the seventh cohort of George Mason University’s Northern Virginia Public Service Fellows Program, by students pursuing Master of Public Administration degrees. We selected “Innovations in Aging” as the topic for our Capstone course.

This publication is intended as the start of a conversation, certainly not as the end. We hope this publication will continue to spark innovation at the state, regional and local levels to plan for and respond to the age wave ahead–and new ways to partner with LeadingAge.

View the publication here.