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The Placer County Older Adult Advisory Commission (OAAC) has completed an extensive assessment of the needs the county’s older residents. A report, reflecting the findings of the assessment will be released at the OAAC’s Sept. 16, 2008, meeting. The meeting will be in the Auburn Library”s Beecher Room, 350 Nevada St., in Auburn, at 1:00 p.m.

The OAAC advises both the Placer County Board of Supervisors and the county Department of Health Services (HHS) on services that would be beneficial to older adults. However, since there was little current data, the Supervisors requested that OAAC conduct a thorough needs assessment. The rationale was that the Commission would be better equipped to advise the Board and HHS if there was timely and comprehensive Placer County information.

‘The crucial insights gleaned from the assessment and contained in this report will serve as the basis for priority setting and community investments for years to come.’ said Dr. Richard Burton, Placer County Health Officer and Director of Health and Human Services. ‘The extensive level of older adult participation demonstrates the importance that our older adults place on identifying approaches that will help them to continue to pursue their dreams and contribute to the lives of those around them.’
 
The assessment of older adult needs was conducted in January and February of this year. The assessment consisted of:
ย• 5,000 surveys that were distributed to older adults at 26 sites;
ย• interviews with 30 individuals aged 60 to 93;
ย• interviews with 25 service providers;
ย• site visits to three senior centers and 20 adult communities:
ย• online reviews of related literature and research reports; and
ย• online research of older adult programs across the country.

More than 21 percent of the surveys were returned.

The needs assessment found that, for the most part, Placer County older adults:
ย• are healthy;
ย• thriving and socially active;
ย• want to maintain their independence; and
ย• want assistance to remain independent.

Additionally, older adults who responded to the survey anticipated that in five years the issues of most concern for them would include:
ย• having sufficient financial resources;
ย• the possibility of having to live with a chronic illness; and
ย• being able to get the services to allow then to stay in their homes.
 
‘One of the issues that came through loud and clear from survey respondents was that they want to ย‘age in place’, remaining in their homes and communities; and that they hope to have the services that will allow them to fulfill this desire,’ said Eldon Luce, HHS Program Manager, and lead staff on the needs assessment.

The written surveys were designed to ask older adults to respond to issues that included future needs, health and safety, housing, transportation, social activities and community resources. 

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