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Boomers and Seniors Desire Rural Life

Are you a baby boomer seeking a more rural lifestyle?  Several of my colleagues think so, and our friends at the Center for Rural Affairs offer a thought-provoking article that looks at the opportunities rural communities have with recruiting boomers back.  It’s also something the sagely Jack Ruff (my mentor) advocated four years ago when we worked together at the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.  Have a look below, and let us know – do boomers want what small towns have to offer? ~ Caleb

By Elisha Smith, elishas@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs

Polka!

Polka!

Many young people leave town after High School graduation, and some may never return.  As populations dwindle, towns lose businesses and services.

Conversations about recruiting youth back are plentiful, but are we missing an opportunity by ignoring recruitment of Baby Boomers and seniors?   Boomers desire to move to rural communities – and are looking for what small towns offer.   They want a slower pace of life, but also want to participate in the community.

Small towns need to be creative in offering services that seniors and boomers are looking for.  That includes access to medical services, cultural activities, and community gathering places like coffee shops.

Older people coming back can also offer new life to small towns.  Boomers possess knowledge and experience.  They want to become community leaders, start new businesses (a large number of people this age start successful small businesses), and they have fresh community development perspectives.

Boomers and seniors who are considering moving to your community want to know they can stay there, and the town will provide opportunities to age in place.  This includes outreach and marketing of your community to capitalize on the quality of life your town offers in regard to health, safety, housing, education, transportation and recreation. This group of folks is becoming more health conscious, especially Boomers.  Biking and hiking trails, nutrition education and fitness programs are big draws, as are opportunities to develop their artistic side.

For more information and ideas, please visit our Renew Rural America pages, www.cfra.org/renewrural.

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