Pittsburgh is an age-in-place case study

Nearly 20% of the city’s residents are at or over the age of 65, with the working cohort fully recovering to pre-pandemic levels

Allegheny County — which is home to the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — has an older population. Nearly 20% of its 1.2 million residents are at or over the age of 65, according to the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Social & Urban Research. Certain subject matter experts describe Pittsburgh as a microcosm of the way the national population is progressing in terms of age demographics.

Because of that, it has a particularly high concentration of working seniors, according to a new story at Public Source.

“Pittsburgh is a mecca for aging in place,” Laura Poskin, executive director of Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh, told the outlet.

But many area seniors are delaying retirement, preferring to continue working while also remaining in their own homes as opposed to exploring more traditional senior living options. Part of this comes from some of the reasons that Pittsburgh features a high concentration of older residents, the reporting said.

“Pittsburgh’s older population can be attributed in part to the decline of the city in the 1980s when younger populations left the city seeking job opportunities,” the story said. “Many older residents stayed, and have continued to stay. While nationally, aging populations continue to grow, Pittsburgh has been ahead of this trend for several decades. In some ways, being ahead of this trend may have made Pittsburgh a more age-friendly city than many metro areas of a similar size.”

The result is that these older residents are staying in their homes, aging in place.

Poskin describes this as an opportunity for the city to further embrace its cohort of working seniors.

“As our communities age and life expectancy increases, many Pittsburghers work to supplement retirement income and social security benefits,” the story said based on Poskin’s input. “But working also allows older populations to stay engaged with their community. According to Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh’s recent survey of aging Pittsburghers, 64% of those still in the workforce are extremely likely or very likely to continue work as long as possible.”

This could also translate into potential for the reverse mortgage industry, as previously explained to RMD by Steve Broaddus, director of the reverse mortgage division at First Alliance Home Mortgage in Feasterville, Pennsylvania.

The high population of seniors in Pennsylvania has led to a wide variety of borrower profiles, so a “typical” profile couldn’t really be identified by Broaddus when he spoke to RMD about the business there in 2020. This was particularly visible in the way certain clients had embraced technology, he said at the time.

“I probably don’t have a typical borrower profile, because I get age ranges all the way down and all the way up the range of seniors,” he said in 2020. “I was thinking this morning about how my business in 2020 compares to the way it was 8-10 years ago, and technology usage of the borrower has changed.”

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