Birmingham - April 2023
Michigan is aging, and the Birmingham area is no exception. We are in fact about to see the most profound demographic shift in our history. For the first time, people 65 and older will outnumber those 17 and younger. Nationwide, this moment called the “crossover,” will occur in 2035. In Michigan, that moment will come a decade sooner, in 2025.
Is an aging population a challenge or an opportunity? The answer is a little of both, but the opportunities are enormous. For one, seniors are economic drivers, controlling more than half the discretionary income – $37 billion in Michigan alone – and unlike younger demographics, they tend to spend much of that income locally.
Today’s seniors are the healthiest, both mentally and physically, of any previous generations. They are more educated and more active. People 50 and older contribute $745 billion in unpaid activities that benefit the entire community. They are caregivers for loved ones, provide childcare, and volunteer on civic boards and for non-profits. They are business mentors, run youth programs, drive community projects, financially support local charities and overwhelmingly, far outnumber younger voters.
Next, Birmingham’s 50-plus Community Center, continues to evolve to meet the changing dynamics of this active demographic. Membership ranges from 40 to 104, where people of all ages can find a number of activities to spark an interest. Serving a community of avid learners, Next continues to attain a level of programming that our members enjoy. Accredited speakers from local universities, hospitals and important organizations, certified fitness instructors and recognized art teachers all contribute to our offerings that allow residents life-long learning opportunities right in their own back yard. Science has shown that those who continue to learn and challenge themselves remain happier and healthier. To be able to attend high-quality programs that also provides opportunities for fellowship and friendship is a combination unique to Next.
For example, over the last year, Next has explored various cultures to offer a deeper understanding of the world, and challenge us to think critically about global issues. With distinguished guest speakers, selected entertainment, culinary offerings and day trips to local highlights, Next offers a multi-cultural experience. In the months of March and April, we are exploring the Middle East. With recognized leaders addressing topics on Islam, Iran, Lebanon and Middle East’s regional diversity, a performance from Armenian musician Ara Toupouzian, day trips to the Arab American Museum and a catered Middle Eastern lunch – there is much to explore. On deck – South America. These special programs compliment the already robust calendar of over 230 activities each month. Whether you are looking to expand your knowledge, develop a skill, stay fit or connect with others, Next has much to offer.
In addition, a foundational part of Next is also service to our communities’ most vulnerable. If you or someone you know may need a little extra assistance to remain healthy and independent, please call our Support Service Department. We are here to help.
Visit the Next website at www.BirminghamNext.org, stop by the center at 2121 Midvale or call (248) 203-5270 to learn more.
Cris Braun is Executive Director of Birmingham Next