Survey on aging in Oxford expands

Oxford officials and residents hope to make the community more convenient, safe and healthy for residents who choose to remain in their own homes and the community throughout their lifespan. STAFF FILE
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Oxford officials and residents hope to make the community more convenient, safe and healthy for residents who choose to remain in their own homes and the community throughout their lifespan. STAFF FILE

A survey seeking local needs for an aging population has been expanded from a written one sent to 700 random people to an online survey with everyone invited to take part.

The City of Oxford became a member of the World Health Organization and AARP Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities last November with a goal of making the community more livable for older adults. By joining the network, officials and residents hope to make the Oxford community more convenient, safe and healthy for residents who choose to remain in their own homes and the community throughout their lifespan.

“This needs assessment survey is the first, and perhaps most important, step in the Age-Friendly Oxford work.” said Jessie Leek, one of the co-coordinators of the project when the mailed survey was announced. “A high survey response rate will strengthen the initiative from the onset and assure that the needs of area residents are being represented accurately.”

The survey, aimed at those 50 and older, has now been expanded by placing it on-line and inviting anyone willing to take part to do so, increasing the response base and allowing everyone to have their chance to contribute their ideas.

The survey is designed, distributed, analyzed and reported on by Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center, a national leader in gerontology and research and at Miami University. All names and survey responses are held in strict confidence. Identification numbers rather than names were used in the mailed survey and the IDs and addresses of participants were known only by a few researchers who prepared the initial mailing.

In an e-mail sent through the Age-Friendly Oxford network July 20, Ann Whelpton, the other co-coordinator, noted that anyone who received the mailed survey and had not returned it was sent a second copy July 9 and she encouraged those people to complete it.

Those who did not receive the survey in the mail were invited to go on-line and complete the survey at tinyurl.com/ageoxford.

She also invited anyone preferring a paper copy to call Scripps Gerontology Center at (513) 529-2914 and request one.

“All voices and needs are important. All survey responses will be confidential and there is no solicitation associated with this survey,” Whelpton said.

For other questions, contact Leek at Jessie@agefriendlyoxford.org.

The Age-Friendly Oxford partnership includes the City of Oxford, Miami University Scripps Gerontology Center, Oxford Seniors, Inc., Oxford VillAGE Network and a growing network of local community partners. The Age-Friendly Oxford Initiative will share the results of the survey with the community.

The WHO and AARP Livable Communities Network have identified “Eight Domains of Livability” as important for quality of life for older adults. The Age-Friendly Oxford survey has been designed around these eight domains: 1) Buildings and Outdoor Spaces; 2) Transportation; 3) Housing; 4) Social Participation; 5) Respect and Inclusion; 6) Civic Participation and Employment; 7) Communication and Information, and: 8) Community and Health Services.

The U.S. population aged 65 and over is projected to grow from 35 million in 2000 to 88.5 million by 2050, according to AARP. The number of 80-year-olds will double by 2030.

Whelpton said the Oxford community is fortunate to that Scripps Gerontology Center conducting this survey for Age-Friendly Oxford.

“We have one of the nation’s top aging research centers providing the research and data foundation for the benefit of older adults right here in our home town and township. We will have reliable, representative data which will inform us of our community’s priorities and help direct the Age-Friendly Action Plan for the next five years,” she said.