Appalachia's aging population is rising fast

DAN SEWELL Associated Press Published:

MT. ORAB, Ohio (AP) â€" The graying of America is in full swing in the nation's Appalachian region.

In some places in the 13-state region, senior citizens account for 1 out of every 5 people â€" a benchmark the U.S. as a whole isn't expected to reach for another 18 years.

That means more demand for health care, economic help, transportation and other assistance in a part of the country that is already struggling economically.

One expert calls the Appalachian region "the canary in the coal mine" for what the U.S. as a whole can expect to see.

The answer, according to politicians and activists, is a combination of government and community efforts to help elderly people stay healthy and keep their homes.