264733 Fostering Aging in Place: “Healthy Naturally Occurring Retirement Community” (H-NORC) Principles in a Southwest Ohio Suburb

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Laura Previll, MD, MPH candidate 2012 , Center for Global Health, Department of Community Health, Wright State University School of Medicine, Kettering, OH
Cristina Redko, PhD , Center for Global Health, Department of Community Health, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Kettering, OH
Jacqueline Housel, PhD , Department of Geography, Miami University, Oxford, OH
Richard Pretorius, MD, MPH , Department of Geriatrics and Family Medicine, Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, OH
National organizations such as the CDC Healthy Aging Network advocate for state and local governments to address the built environment's potential to influence health. This community assessment utilized the concept of Healthy Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (H-NORCs), as defined by Paul Masotti, to analyze a first tier suburb in the Midwest where almost one-quarter of the population is over the age of 60. Qualitative methods and asset mapping were employed to analyze community attributes such as neighborhood design for social involvement, home upkeep assistance, transportation support for seniors, and opportunities for social integration. Focus groups and qualitative interviews with local seniors, many with a lifetime connection to the area, explored community attributes that they found most meaningful. City employees working with seniors described connections between senior health and local assets. Study participants also identified the need for improved community outreach for less active citizens as a means of promoting health and longevity. Seniors who lived alone or moved into the area after adulthood were more likely to describe negative neighborhood attributes such as poor mobility and feelings of isolation. Others with strong family connections and sense of community described positive attributes related to volunteering and social networking opportunities. There was a high level of awareness of available supports for senior mobility in this suburban context, but this awareness was associated with reluctance to utilize services due to long held identity as automobile drivers.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Learners will be able to define challenges to sustaining communities that support older adults, especially in a suburban setting, in terms of available assets in the built environment, community interest, and economics.

Keywords: Aging, Community Assets

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a graduating dual degree M.D./M.P.H. student who completed this project as part of a Masters Thesis to obtain a Masters of Public Health.
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.