By Melissa Slone, MSW
|Kentucky River Communities in Action|
|What Is the Kentucky Elder Readiness Initiative?|
in urban and rural populations in Kentucky?
The aging populations’ answers to this question are of significant importance as Kentucky prepares for the baby boomer population turning 60. The Kentucky Elder Readiness Initiative survey responses from the Kentucky River and Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA) areas were analyzed to obtain results from an urban and rural area on what respondents perceived about their current and future quality of life. The purpose is to provide rural and urban communities information about factors associated with good quality of life and future needs among their aging residents.
- 640 randomly selected households in each Area Development District received surveys.
- KIPDA (urban) had 224 surveys returned.
- Kentucky River (rural) had 189 surveys returned.
- Secondary analyses of the data collected were used to measure responses to the questions about their quality of life.
- When asked “I think that my quality of life is most determined by” top responses were:
- 1. KIPDA “my happiness” and “my faith”;
- 2. Kentucky River “my faith”, “my happiness” and “having enough income”.
- Current Quality of Life: KIPDA responses for good to excellent were at 88%; Kentucky River responses for good to excellent were at 76%.
- Expectation for quality of life in 10 years: get worse; remain the same; or improve. Most expected it would remain the same.
- KIPDA respondents felt more confident in their ability to financially support themselves in retirement.
- KIPDA showed a slightly higher percentage of satisfaction in all areas analyzed.
- Access to transportation and job opportunities are two issues potentially impacting the differences in responses.
- Financial resource options need to be explored as levels of confidence was less then 70% in both regions.
Jenkins City Planning Committee:
In Jenkins, Kentucky (Letcher County) a group of citizens are working together to ensure the future of the city. A major task on the group’s agenda is to find funding for an Assisted Living Facility. It is hoped that by working with the local government, schools, health care facilities and other community organizations individuals can be educated about the aging population and find ways they can become involved.
Hazard Perry Wellness Program:
A combined effort of Hazard Perry Senior Citizens Center, Perry County Fiscal Court, Hazard Perry County Community Foundation and UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health a variety of exercise programs and equipment has been purchased. The wellness program was established at the senior citizens center and is open extended hours for seniors in the community. The hope is that by ensuring services are available to seniors it will promote a better quality of life.
KERI seeks to develop information and provide support to Kentucky’s communities so that elders and their families are provided with the opportunity to age in place and enjoy the highest possible quality of life for the longest time. For more information on KERI go to: http://www.mc.uky.edu/keri/