Health and Family Services Cabinet
FIVCO elder readiness meeting reveals regional survey findings
FRANKFORT, KY (Aug. 20, 2007) – Most FIVCO area residents are aware that the aging of the baby boomers (people currently age 43-61) 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 today Parks Place Auditorium in Ashland. 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.
"KERI has produced information that will undoubtedly prove to be critical for communities to use in planning how they will need to adapt services and resources in the future to meet the needs of an aging population," Governor Fletcher said. "With this data in hand, government agencies, service providers and community groups can now better collaborate on the next steps toward preparing Kentucky for this population shift."
"One of the most valuable aspects of the statewide KERI project is that it illuminates challenges and opportunities that may be exclusive to particular areas," said Secretary Birdwhistell. "For example, in eastern Kentucky, public transportation and housing are often of greater concern to residents than they are for Kentuckians who live in more urban areas of the state."
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 FIVCO regional survey include:
Nearly three-fourths of baby boomers (73 percent) in the FIVCO region say they worry either somewhat or a great deal about being prepared for retirement. Survey questions about retirement preparedness touched on topics ranging from financial advance planning to familiarity with available services for the aging in the area.
FIVCO residents believe the aging of the baby boom generation will have a generally negative effect on most area services and facilities, including housing, transportation, health care delivery, tax revenues, funding for services, government policies, aging services and caregiving for elders. By contrast, respondents said the aging of the baby boomers will have a positive effect on employment and environmental design.
More than 40 percent of all survey respondents said their communities do not have public transportation. Significantly, nearly two-thirds of baby boomers and one-third of the older adults surveyed said they will need public transportation more as they age.
Most FIVCO residents expect to remain in their current residences as they age, with 69 percent of baby boomers and 90 percent of older adults affirming their intent to live at home at age 75. That number drops significantly when asked where respondents expect to live at age 90. Only 26 percent of baby boomers and 47 percent of older adults expect to live at home at age 90; 23 percent of baby boomers and 17 percent of older adults expect to live in nursing homes at age 90; and 25 percent of baby boomers and 19 percent of older adults expect to be living in assisted living facilities 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 FIVCO regional survey can be viewed at http://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/os/dail/kerisurveyreports.htm.