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As baby boomers age, Lackawanna County grapples with handling the influx |

by Rebekah Brown and James Haggerty Staff Writers from

The golden years could be stripped of gloss for many senior citizens and aging baby boomers in Lackawanna County.

The region's substantial elderly population will increase over the coming decades, population models indicate, and the system in place is inadequately prepared to address the challenge.


Working past retirement

More people continue to working past retirement age or re-enter the workforce, data indicate, and some are not ready to retire. And for some, it's financially impossible to retire when eligible. Many residents cannot adjust to living on a fixed income after retirement.

It's no longer a cut and dry decision, said Kevin Cahill, Ph.D., a research economist at the Center on Aging and Work at Boston College.

"Retirement is a process, as opposed to a one-time permanent event," Dr. Cahill said. "The process takes lots of different forms for older Americans."

The average retirement age has not exceeded 65 since the 1970s, he continued, but it is increasing.

"It's higher than it's been in 30 years," he said of retirement age. "If you just look at the financial incentives that older Americans face later in life, a lot has changed to promote work later in life rather than leisure."

Savings have also decreased, and access to Social Security has been pushed back from age 65 to 66 and soon 67. Pension incentives have been reduced or removed altogether.

"What we're starting to see now in the data - and this isn't surprising given the national trend - older Americans who are in career jobs have left involuntarily," he said.

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