Senior needs assessment looks to help growing elderly community

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MECHANICSBURG, Pa (WHTM) – Messiah Lifeways is conducting a Community Needs Assessment focused on identifying the needs of Central Pennsylvania’s senior population.

Following a model commonly used to assess health needs by hospitals, the Senior Living Community Needs Assessment will compile data gathered through focus groups to identify gaps in care for seniors and determine ways to address these challenges.

Estimates show that seniors age 75+ will be the fastest-growing segment of the population living in Cumberland and Dauphin Counties with a 9.4% increase by 2022. A majority of this age range has an estimated household income of $50,000 or less.

Accessibility and affordability is and will continue to be a challenge for seniors in this increasing population of the community. Senior care providers are working to improve these areas of need without easy solutions.

Messiah Lifeways believes that open dialogue and identifying specific needs is a starting point to help alleviate some of these challenges. 

Matthew Gallardo, Director of Community Engagement and Coaching said, “Senior Living Community Needs Assessment, reinforces Messiah Lifeways’ commitment and vision to serve and benefit community members as their needs evolve and new barriers and challenges occur during the journey of aging.”

The Senior Living Community Needs Assessment has concluded focus groups held this past June, with others scheduled for the future. Each group included a variety of professionals that primarily work with or serve local seniors.

Participants included representatives from local hospitals, churches, transportation services, other senior care providers, senior advocacy organizations, and the local area agency on aging.

The discussion group centered on addressing key issues, challenges, and opportunities for those aged 65+ in South Central PA, such as, “What would you say are the biggest health problems for older adults aged 65+ in South Central Pennsylvania?”

Additional consumer focus groups are scheduled for this September at a Senior Center & More at 97 W. Portland St., Mechanicsburg and the GIANT Community Room on 2300 Linglestown Rd, Harrisburg.

These sessions allow local seniors to share their perspectives on the key issues, challenges, and opportunities for older adults in the greater Harrisburg region.

Once the responses are gathered, a final report will serve as a guide for the next step forward with the final report also releasing and available to the public.

Anyone who would like more information or wants to participate in a consumer focus group should contact Katie Andreano at 717.591.7201 or email kandreano@messiahlifeways.org.

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