The paper aims at exploring what makes rural communities a good place to live from an older adult’s perspective. This will be achieved by using an example of four small towns in the state of Iowa, USA. All these towns are strongly affected by population ageing, i.e., according to the Census Data, have above-average shares of people aged 65 or above. In the case of two of them, senior citizen programs are perceived by the residents as of good quality, whereas in two others, they score significantly lower (Iowa Small Towns Project Data 2020). The analysis covers several themes, such as types of senior services available locally and their provision, quality and accessibility of services important for people of all ages but also for older adults (health care, transportation, grocery stores, etc.), informal support directed at older adults, as well as overall challenges related to population aging in these small Iowa rural towns. The analysis is based on own research carried out in 2021-2022 at the Iowa State University. This includes in-depth interviews with residents aged 65 or older and local stakeholders, as well as a postal survey among randomly selected households in all four towns. Preliminary outcomes indicate the importance of not only “formal” services, such as assisted living, health care or in-home care, but also local social networks (neighbors, friends, community groups) providing support to older residents (emotional support, checking on the elderly, help with grocery shopping or driving). The paper contributes to important discussions on population ageing that go well beyond rural Iowa, as such demographic changes are observed in rural areas in many Western countries. Sustainable rural communities should not only focus on attracting younger people to stay, return or move in, but also on the quality of life of their older residents.
Ageing well in rural communities: insights from selected small Iowa townsWritten by ptsadmin
Grupa tematyczna: G48
Słowa kluczowe: rural ageing, senior services, quality of life
Prelegent: Ilona Matysiak, David Peters
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Ageing well in rural communities: insights from selected small Iowa towns
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