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 area seniors and determine ways to help 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. Additionally, a majority of this age range has an estimated household income of $50,000 or less¹. Accessibility, affordability, and coordination of services and goods for seniors is and will continue to be a challenge for this expanding segment of the community. Senior care providers and advocates are working to improve these areas of need, but there are no easy answers. Messiah Lifeways believes that open dialogue and identifying specific needs is a starting point to help alleviate some of these challenges.
“Messiah Lifeways is continually interested in the health and well-being of older adults and is committed to being an engaged partner in the greater community,” stated Matthew Gallardo, Director of Community Engagement and Coaching. “Much of the organization’s longevity and heritage can be attributed to our vision and commitment to changing the conversation about aging and exploring and implementing new ways to serve older adults in the region. This 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.”
To date, the Senior Living Community Needs Assessment has concluded stakeholder focus groups held this past June. 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 age 65+ in South Central PA, such as, “What would you say are the biggest health problems for older adults age 65+ in South Central Pennsylvania?”
Consumer focus groups are slated for this September at Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center & More at 97 W. Portland St., Mechanicsburg and the GIANT® Community Room on 2300 Linglestown Rd, Harrisburg. These sessions will allow local seniors to share their perspectives on the key issues, challenges, and opportunities for older adults in the greater Harrisburg region. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the responses are gathered from the consumer focus groups they will be incorporated with stakeholder sessions, and a final report will serve as a guide for the next step forward. The final report will also be released and made available to the public.