Idaho is keeping seniors and attracting hordes more.
More than any other state in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
While that’s not going to do a whole lot for the downtown Coeur d’Alene nightclub scene, it brings far more positives than negatives.
It’s true that as a group, our 65 and older elders are going to place higher demand on health care providers and perhaps emergency services. Those on the lower end of the economic scale are going to need more help not just with medical issues, but with basics like food, clothing and shelter. As today’s front-page story by Keith Cousins painfully points out, there’s far more need for senior affordable housing in our area than there is supply, and the number of free meals provided by senior centers is rapidly going in the wrong direction.
So yes, many of our seniors need a little support from the communities they helped build when they were younger.
On the other hand, and it’s a substantial one, many seniors are moving here because our area is more affordable than most, our health care is superb — especially for a relatively low population area — and Kootenai County has plenty to offer in overall quality of life.
From beautiful libraries and parks to plenty of fine dining and cozy coffee corners, seniors have access to amenities greater than our population might suggest. With the exception of snowbirds who flock southward when the chill winds blow, recent senior arrivals do what tourists don’t: They help keep our retail businesses open during shoulder and off seasons. Many pay plenty of property taxes, and it’s a one-way street because they don’t tap city and county services like many younger individuals and families do. And full disclosure: Seniors happen to love community newspapers. And they’re not afraid to get involved locally, even when it’s only through the Opinions page.
In short, our seniors are a blessing.
Please treat them that way.