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“GrayShore” is a BEACON initiative that aims to educate regional service providers and decision makers about our aging population: both the demographic realities and the impact that these demographics will have on regional services, economy, and workforce.

 In the United States, the elderly are the fastest growing segment of the population, increasing almost three times as rapidly as rest of general population.  The Eastern Shore is aging even more dramatically, thanks to the continued out-migration of our youth and in-migration of retirees attracted to our climate and amenities.  In Worcester County, it is estimated at 1/3 of the total population will be 65 and over by 2030. 

The magnitude and imminence of this “elderly boom” threatens our region’s ability to ensure that seniors have access to affordable and appropriate:


   Health care


  Other services that help maintain independence.

 It will also have huge implications for our economy and labor market, as we adjust to the reality of aging consumers and workers.


Unfortunately, neither the nation nor the region is prepared for this “graying phenomenon.”  Resources and services for the elderly are not only inadequate, but they are not structured to reflect the realities of 21st century aging (e.g., seniors’ extended need for assisted living and medical care).    

Given these realities, BEACON is committed to working with its partners, including  MAC, Inc., the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, and Worcester County Department of Economic Development, to help our region stay proactive on this issue.   Planning next steps include: 

  • Disseminating our findings in as many public forums as possible, including a proposed summit in fall 2004. 

  • Creating a “GrayShore” Steering Committee that will help to develop regional priorities and a collaborative action plan on this important issue. 

  • Developing a “Community Scorecard” to clearly document our aging-related needs and assess our collective progress in meeting those needs. 

  • Educating decision makers who are not yet fully aware of the implications of “the graying of Delmarva.” 

  • Exploring funding for further study and creative approaches to the “Graying Shore,” including continued coalition-building, research, and innovative pilot programs.