207003 Creating rural communities to promote healthy aging for boomers and beyond

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 5:45 PM

Elaine T. Jurkowski, MSW, PhD , School of Social Work, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
As baby boomers are emerging into the older adults of our communities, it is important to consider ways in which rural communities are prepared to meet the needs of an aging population. The “Livable Communities” approach examined communities on ten specific domains to determine how viable communities were to promote healthy aging opportunities of their population as they grow older and want to remain in their communities. METHODS: Communities were assessed through the use of focus groups and key stakeholders to determine the strengths and areas of development necessary for boomers to remain in communities as they age. Communities were selected based upon demographic and socio-economic profiles to determine if there were similarities and differences between perceptions of stakeholders FINDINGS: Differences existed between communities and stakeholders regarding the perception of ideal communities for retirement. Resources and availability of specific health care and recreational opportunities played a key role in stakeholders wanting to remain engaged in a specific community. Rural communities most apt to promote healthy aging were not linked to resources, but social networks, and social capital to promote resources and resource development. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests strategies that communities can use to identify strengths and areas for development if communities want to create contexts to enable “boomers” and older adults to pursue civic engagement in communities that promote healthy lifestyles and engagement.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this presentation, participants will: 1 Describe the dynamics of community planning for older adults in rural communities. 2. Describe strategies to promote healthy aging in rural communities. 3. Identify at least 2 factors that will create a context in a rural setting for older adults.

Keywords: Aging, Rural Communities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized and carried out the research identified in this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Rural Aging Issues
See more of: Gerontological Health