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AARP Holds Workshop About Growing Senior Population In Transition Tent

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The local chapter of the AARP held a workshop in the Transition Tent Thursday about the growing senior population in the city. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

There are roughly 2.5 million AARP members in New York State. That's defined as people over 50 years old.

With the baby boomer population heading into retirement, people over 50 now constitute a major voting bloc, which was on display earlier this month.

"More than one of every two voters in the recent election were AARP members, which is really very shocking," said Beth Finkel of AARP of New York. "We have 743,000 members in New York State, and they vote."

According to the AARP's own surveys, 80 percent of those members vote. Since they played such a crucial role in selecting the next mayor, seniors are now asking for some of their issues to be addressed by the incoming de Blasio administration.

One concern is how to fight age discrimination in the workplace, but perhaps everyone's biggest concern is affordability.

"Obviously, the cost of living is getting excessively high, especially for people in a fixed income," said one person.

With a city that is fast becoming unaffordable, AARP is trying to ensure that steps are taken to prevent people from leaving New York.

"Well, that's what we'd like to talk to the next mayor about, because we think it's in everybody's best interest to keep them here, both for the vibrancy of the city but also for the quality of life of boomers as they retire," Finkel said.

The good news is that most seniors are not eager to leave.

"More than 90 percent of New Yorkers want to stay in their homes as they age, and what's critical for us is to view the whole city through the lens of aging," said Ruth Finkelstein of the New York Academy of Medicine.

According to the AARP, there is a larger economic issue beyond the personal one of individuals having to leave the area due to affordability. If there are fewer individuals here, that's less tax revenue for the city and state of New York, and if those individuals have a pension, that's money that they will not be spending in the local economy.

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