Officials say there is a new face to aging and Eastern Kentucky may be directly affected by a growing senior citizen population. Aging experts are predicting the number of senior adults may double over the next 25 years.
To some people, the wrinkles on 86 year old Ruth Baker's face represent wisdom. They also represent a growing issue across the country, and especially in Eastern Kentucky.
"That's over one third of the people here that will be considered older adults," said Melissa Vermillion with the Hazard Perry County Senior Center.
Officials point to advances in health care producing longer life spans and the aging baby boomer generation as reasons why our senior population may double in the next 25 years.
"If I had to take care of myself, I don't think I could," Ruth Baker said.
But worries like Ruth Baker's, worries about health care, transportation, and health coverage have some that work with seniors saying we need to take action today rather than wait and react once the baby boomers hit their golden years.
"Maybe some of the things that work now, are not going to work for them later on," Vermillion says. "Just because they've turned 60, that doesn't mean they're ready for the rocking chair."
"I jumped from my 40's to my 50's and 60's, and I'm just like I was 25 years ago," said Doris Ann Hall.
That's why some are saying this aging baby boomer generation, is more likely to stay active in retirement than previous generations, worrying some that Eastern Kentucky may not have enough volunteer or work opportunities to keep these incoming seniors in the region, but worrying Ruth Baker in a different way.
"I just hope everybody is as happy as I am when they get my age," Baker said.
And as the population grows, that turns in to a lot of smiles.
One official at the Hazard Perry County Senior Center says that in her opinion, funding is also a major issue facing the growing senior population.