Please note: The Senior Community Needs Survey is now closed and no longer accepting responses.

What is the 2019 Senior Community Needs Assessment?

Bridgewater Retirement Community (BRC), Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS), and Holleran, an independent research and consulting firm, are conducting an in-depth community study of the needs of people 65 and older in the City of Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, and Augusta County. Our goal is to bring attention to the needs of seniors in the community and challenge local government, health providers, service providers, and other nonprofit organizations to work together creatively to meet these needs.

The project gathered data in four phases. During the first phase, existing information on demographics and needs was gathered from sources such as other surveys and the U.S. Census. The second phase involved a survey of “key informants,” or people whose profession or position gives them insight into the specific needs of older adults in our community. The third was a survey of people who are 65 and older, and the final phase was a survey of caregivers.

The information-gathering phase concluded on October 28, 2019, and data is currently being analyzed. The study conclusions and recommendations will be shared at a community meeting, probably in early 2020, and will be publicly available.

Why is the Survey being conducted?

In the next few years, almost 20% of the population in this area will be 65 or older. The number of households in our region including people aged 75 and older is growing twice as fast as households overall.

Population projections show that our region’s 75+ population will continue its trajectory of strong growth, with even higher growth of 80+ households beyond 2023. When individuals don’t age well, emotionally or physically—everyone is affected. Is our community ready to meet the needs of the burgeoning senior population?

From a personal standpoint, many of us focus on those who need our support—children, parents, neighbors, friends.  But sometimes we don’t consider that one day it might be us who needs help.

How well is our community meeting the needs of the burgeoning senior population? What are the most crucial unmet needs?

What will you do when you can no longer manage your life as you did so easily in the past?  Will you depend on your children or your neighbors for help?  What about those who have no immediate family or live in a rural setting with no neighbors?  These are questions that our whole community should be trying to answer.

Why are these organizations partnering to conduct the study?

While many organizations are doing excellent work and offering important services to seniors, our community does not have the data we need to assess the comprehensive picture. This project will gather demographic and health data from many sources, survey individuals who work with seniors, and survey seniors who live in these areas.

As experts on aging well, the team at Bridgewater Retirement Community knows how to engage seniors; every day we help BRC residents plan for and experience healthy, successful aging. As a nonprofit with the vision to energize and enhance healthy living, we wish to have a positive impact on seniors throughout our broader community regardless of where they live.

We hope you will be part of the solution to meeting the many needs this study will document. For more information or to discuss next steps, please Carrie Budd at Bridgewater Retirement Community, or 540-828-2550.

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