Faculty Sponsor Name

Evelina W. Sterling

Project Type

Poster

Abstract (250 words maximum)

Atlanta, like the rest of the U.S., is experiencing a dramatic increase in its older adult population; by 2030, one in five residents will be over the age of 60. Recognized as a leading county-based senior service agency in metropolitan Atlanta, Cobb County Senior Services provides an array of aging services including multipurpose centers, volunteer and advocacy opportunities, resource development, and innovative partnerships. Due to the many challenges presented by the growth of the older adult population, Cobb County Senior Services is currently embarking on the development of a strategic plan to best meet the changing needs of older adults over the next 25 years. However, in research as well as in practice, older adults are commonly excluded, marginalized or treated less than fully competent adults. Further complicating matters, many deny old age and their fears concerning declining capacities as well as becoming dependent (or a burden). The overall purpose of this initial qualitative research is to 1) Accurately determine the interests and concerns of the aging population eligible for support and services from Cobb County Senior Services over the next 25 years and 2) Identify opportunities and barriers to researching older adults in Cobb County. Data will be collected and transcribed from five focus groups (consisting of 8-12 participants each) conducted throughout Cobb County, taking into account gender, racial, ethnic, geographic, class, and age-related differences. Conclusions will include specific issues, connections, and trends regarding key categories such as housing, employment, civic engagement, health, preventative health, physical activity, nutrition, long-term care, defining aging, gathering data, and participating in research identified through a modified grounded theory analysis. These results will be presented to the Cobb County Senior Services administration in order to inform a larger-scale county wide quantitative survey on aging to be implemented in summer/early fall of 2016.

Included in

Sociology Commons

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Uncovering the Changing Needs of Older Adults: An Exploratory Qualitative Research Study

Atlanta, like the rest of the U.S., is experiencing a dramatic increase in its older adult population; by 2030, one in five residents will be over the age of 60. Recognized as a leading county-based senior service agency in metropolitan Atlanta, Cobb County Senior Services provides an array of aging services including multipurpose centers, volunteer and advocacy opportunities, resource development, and innovative partnerships. Due to the many challenges presented by the growth of the older adult population, Cobb County Senior Services is currently embarking on the development of a strategic plan to best meet the changing needs of older adults over the next 25 years. However, in research as well as in practice, older adults are commonly excluded, marginalized or treated less than fully competent adults. Further complicating matters, many deny old age and their fears concerning declining capacities as well as becoming dependent (or a burden). The overall purpose of this initial qualitative research is to 1) Accurately determine the interests and concerns of the aging population eligible for support and services from Cobb County Senior Services over the next 25 years and 2) Identify opportunities and barriers to researching older adults in Cobb County. Data will be collected and transcribed from five focus groups (consisting of 8-12 participants each) conducted throughout Cobb County, taking into account gender, racial, ethnic, geographic, class, and age-related differences. Conclusions will include specific issues, connections, and trends regarding key categories such as housing, employment, civic engagement, health, preventative health, physical activity, nutrition, long-term care, defining aging, gathering data, and participating in research identified through a modified grounded theory analysis. These results will be presented to the Cobb County Senior Services administration in order to inform a larger-scale county wide quantitative survey on aging to be implemented in summer/early fall of 2016.