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Survey: Communities Aren't Actively Planning For Aging Baby Boomers

Armen Hareyan's picture

Aging Baby Boomers

Results of a statewide survey show most Kentuckians 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 among the key findings from the Kentucky Elder Readiness Initiative survey of 9,600 households across the state conducted this summer. The survey is the latest phase of the initiative announced by Governor Ernie Fletcher in 2005 to raise awareness of the impending elder population boom. The first wave of baby boomers turned 60 last year.

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services partnered with the University of Kentucky Graduate Center for Gerontology and the state's 15 Area Agencies on Aging to conduct research and promote KERI findings as a means to stimulate local and statewide activity to address the pending challenges and opportunities posed by the aging of the baby boom generation. Regional results were presented at a recently concluded series of 15 forums across the state.

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"In the final analysis of the KERI survey, it's clear that both the state and local communities have much work ahead to prepare for the baby boomers reaching their senior years," said Governor Fletcher. "The project continues to raise awareness of these issues and to serve as a valuable planning tool for communities."

"We've traveled to every part of Kentucky over the past couple of months to bring area-specific results to the people of Kentucky," Secretary Birdwhistell said. "Since the project began two years ago, we have definitely witnessed an increased awareness of these issues and, as a result of KERI, community leaders actively planning for a senior-friendly Kentucky."

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 statewide findings from KERI survey include: