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Survey examines views of seniors, Boomers on aging in Valley, Virginia

A statewide survey of 5,000 Virginians shows that many Baby Boomers think their communities are unprepared for the coming “age wave” and are concerned about how their quality of life might change as they grow older.

The Older Dominion Partnership, an enterprising non-profit organization working to better prepare Virginia for the major impact caused by the aging population boom, today released results of a statewide survey of Virginians ages 50 to 105.

“We are pleased to have contributed to the ODP’s statewide survey and can now reap the benefits at Valley Program for Aging Services”, said Paul Lavigne, the chief executive officer of VPAS.

“Here in the Central Shenandoah Valley, the most interesting data from the survey is satisfaction with components of quality of life, such as relationships, safety, and ability to get around is similar with the state survey with one exception. Only 60 percent of those aged 65 and older in the Shenandoah Valley area, compared with 67 percent statewide, are satisfied with their health. This now helps us prioritize and focus for the seniors of today and tomorrow,” Lavigne said.

“To help our Commonwealth’s communities plan for the doubling of our senior population, it’s critical to first identify those issues that matter most and have the greatest positive impact,” R. David Ross, executive director of the Older Dominion Partnership. “With the release of today’s survey results, the twenty five Virginia Area Agencies on Aging, such as Valley Program for Aging Services, have timely, comprehensive data from which they can identify key priorities.”

The 2011 Virginia Age Ready Indicators Benchmark Survey found that both Older Virginians (aged 65+) and Boomers (aged 50-64) report a high quality of life and feel their personal quality of life is significantly higher than others in the community, but Boomers say the quality of life of today’s seniors is lower than their own.

The state-wide survey also showed that:

• Older Virginians feel more prepared to navigate the challenges of aging than do Boomers. Sixty-eight percent rated themselves as prepared or very prepared, compared to 54 percent of those Boomers.

• Only 23 percent of Boomers believe their community is prepared to meet the needs and lifestyles of an older population, while 42 percent of older Virginians say their communities are prepared.

• Twenty-seven percent of Boomers and 19 percent of older Virginians say they are not prepared financially for retirement.

The survey included interviews in each of the Commonwealth’s 25 Area Agencies on Aging, which work with the Virginia Department for the Aging to provide services for older Virginians and their families in communities throughout the Commonwealth. The interviews were conducted by telephone as well as online this summer.

To read the full report, visit the website for the Older Dominion Partnership, www.olderdominion.org. Individual reports have been prepared for each of the Commonwealth’s AAAs.

More information on VPAS is online at www.ValleyProgramForAgingServices.com.


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