Health and Family Services Cabinet
Buffalo Trace elder readiness meeting reveals regional survey findings
FRANKFORT, KY (Aug. 8, 2007) – Most Buffalo Trace area residents are aware that the aging of the baby boomers will bring major changes to their communities – but they don’t think their communities are actively planning for what has been called a pending “demographic tsunami.”
That’s one of the key findings from the Kentucky Elder Readiness Initiative survey revealed at a meeting last night at the Mason County Cooperative Extension Service office. Presenting findings from the KERI survey were Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell and Graham Rowles, Ph.D., lead KERI investigator and director of the University of Kentucky Graduate Center for Gerontology.
Governor Ernie Fletcher announced the elder readiness initiative in 2005 to raise awareness of the impending elder population boom. The first wave of baby boomers turned 60 last year.
“We hope cities, counties, businesses and households will use findings from the KERI survey to begin closing gaps in their capacity to serve and care for their aging neighbors and family members and capitalize on the opportunities presented by this population shift,” Governor Fletcher said.
“This is not a report that will sit on a shelf,” Birdwhistell said. “KERI is a valuable tool for communities and families who want to prepare now for changes we’ll all experience as our population ages.”
Focus groups and community forums were held during phase one of KERI to gather feedback used to develop the phase two survey. Responses to the survey were analyzed to measure interest, expectations and perceptions about programs and services for aging residents and aging in general.
Other findings from the Buffalo Trace regional survey include:
Long-term support for people with disabilities and their aging caregivers and expanding residential options for elders top the list of issues respondents said communities should pursue in preparing for the aging of the baby boomers.
Among the issues of most concern among Buffalo Trace respondents are a perceived negative effect on tax revenues, housing, health care and transportation as the population ages.
Respondents said the aging of the baby boomers will provide opportunities for progress in the areas of aging services, government policies and caregiving for elders.
More than 90 percent of respondents age 62 and older said they expect to remain in their current homes as they age. A majority of baby boomers, residents age 43-61 (77 percent), and older adults, 62 and older (87 percents), said they expect to be living in their own homes at age 75. Respondents listed nursing homes, assisted living facilities and with relatives, in that order, as the most likely places they will live at age 90.
The KERI survey was based on input gathered at regional focus groups and community forums during phase one of the initiative. Survey questions addressed concerns raised by a broad array of consumers and service providers, public and private interests and advocates. The survey was distributed to 9,600 Kentucky residents earlier this summer.
Data from the KERI survey can be viewed at http://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/os/dail/KERI+Survey+Reports.htm.