In less than a decade, more than 30 percent of Washington’s population will be over the age of 65. This rapid demographic shift is being called the “age wave,” and Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Dungeness) thinks the state needs to focus on preparing to meet the needs of this population.
On March 6, the state House of Representatives approved Tharinger’s bill setting up a select committee to prepare the state for an increasing number of aging residents, including those with disabilities.
“There have been a lot of previous discussions around aging and disability issues, but now it’s time to focus those past efforts on the many needs that will be emerging in our communities,” Tharinger said. “Everything from health and long-term care to housing support, to transportation and even financial independence needs to be considered as we go forward.”
In Clallam County, which is part of the 24th Legislative District represented by Tharinger, about one-quarter of the population is age 65 or older. Statewide, about 12 percent of the population is 65 or older.
The bill attracted bipartisan support and passed the House on a vote of 89-8.