The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is seeking a collaborative partnership with the state's programs in Gerontology at Western Kentucky University, University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville to help conduct a series of regional forums. The forums have a dual purpose of educating community partners and stakeholders on the immediate crisis in providing services for the elderly and the disabled and seek stakeholder and community input on suggested improvements in policy, program and service delivery methods in order to diversify the current aging and disability infrastructure.
KERI-ON, the second phase of KERI, is designed to build on its predecessor by providing education on the current status of aging in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and seeking community input on ways of dealing with the challenges of a rapidly aging population through new and innovative initiatives that will enable us to effectively address the needs of elders.
More information will be available in the near future as this initiative moves forward.
More about KERI:
Between 2005 and 2008 the Kentucky Elder Initiative (KERI) provided preliminary insight into challenges and opportunities provided by the aging of the Commonwealth's Baby Boom population (born 1946-1964). Focus groups and community forums in each of the 15 Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living regions and a survey of 9,600 Kentucky households indicated that the large majority of Kentuckians were unaware of the implications of the aging of Kentucky's population. The research revealed that citizens of the Commonwealth had major concerns including older adult employment, housing, point of entry for services, long-term care for persons disabilities, grandparents raising grandchildren, transportation, support of caregivers and the role of senior centers.
Today with about 8,000 Baby Boomers in the US turning 65 every day for the next 16 years (AARP), the concerns have become immediate. Currently, more than 20,000 older and disabled Kentuckians remain without services. The infrastructure and models of care developed over the past few decades (since the introductions of the Older Americans Act in 1965) are no longer adequate to handle the rapidly rising need for services.