271178 Preparing community constituents for the “boom” within aging communities

Monday, October 29, 2012

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 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 civic engagement 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 stakeholder. Qualitative data analysis techniques were used to identify main themes from key stakeholders. A survey tool, administered to constituency stakeholders identified if resources existed and how important these same resources were perceived to be. 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. 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 age in place. Specific strategies will be addressed to promote the overall and individual health of people living within rural communities.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
At the end of the session, participants will: 1.Understand what features should comprise a community with trying to address the needs of aging constituents. 2.Be able to articulate up to ten domains which should be in place when preparing communities for their aging constituents. 3.Identify how to begin to develop a blueprint to prepare rural communities for the “boom”.

Keywords: Aging, Rural Communities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted the research in three communities to come up with strategies for building healthy communities for older adults.
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.