Transportation, senior programs and palliative (end of life, hospice) care are among the top priorities identified by Key Peninsula senior residents. A survey on “aging in place” priorities has been distributed and collected by a small group of local residents who envision creating an elder-friendly community on the Key Pen.

Edie Morgan, who has spearheaded what she calls “The Mustard Seed Project,” with the help of a steering committee that includes Dr. William Roes and Rochelle Doan, said the survey concludes the first phase of the project. The next step is to create task groups that will look at the identified priorities (see side bar).

“The goals will be to identify existing services and programs, centralize up-to-date information, identify gaps in needed services and programs, explore ways to meet the needs that exist,” Morgan said. “We want to assure that a broad continuum of services and programs are available and affordable, so that those who choose to ‘age in place’ on the Key Peninsula will be able to do just that.”

More than 200 surveys were collected, which Morgan says is a good sample considering that 2000 U.S. Census figures showed 1,500 Key Peninsula residents were age 65 and older. As part of the first phase, a “Council of Elders” was convened, comprised of 11 residents ages 71 to 87 who served as a focus group for the survey and will be an advisory group to The Mustard Seed Project.

Morgan shared the survey and an update on the project at a community forum held at the Key Center library in October. Doan, who worked with a similar effort to create an elder-friendly community on Bainbridge Island, said at the forum that the identified needs such as transportation reflect the responses to a similar survey that had been done on Bainbridge.

“The (survey results) information is consistent with other studies being done around the country,” Morgan said. “The survey process has also involved conversation with a number of local elders, which has provided further insight into the current realities of aging in this community.”

Several government and private agencies have expressed an interest in the survey results, which may help bring additional services, she said.

The goal of the task groups will now be to discuss what services are available, whether they are effective locally, and how more services could be brought in. Morgan is in discussions with local nonprofit groups to find a home for the project so donations and grants can be pursued.

 

The top 10 priorities for the combined age groups (based on 236 total surveys):

  • Local transportation services (197)
  • Senior programs (190)
  • Palliative care (184)
  • Senior centers (170)
  • Information and referral (170)
  • Home health services (169)
  • Support groups (165)
  • Skilled nursing facility (159)
  • Adult day program (157)
  • Home repair services (155)

The results were also broken down further based on three age categories: through age 64, 65-plus, and 71-87, with transportation being the No. 1 priority in all four tallies. The task groups will focus on four categories: senior information and referral, transportation and mobility services for elders, elder health and wellness related services, and housing options for aging in place.

Anyone interested in being part of a task group is encouraged to contact Edie Morgan at 884-3920 or email drumsocialworker@nullyahoo.com.

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