ISU Extension in Dubuque identifies needs of aging Iowans - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

ISU Extension in Dubuque identifies needs of aging Iowans

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

As increasing amounts of Iowans are aging into the 65-and-older category, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Dubuque County is conducting research to identify the needs of that segment of the population.

According to a release from that organization, 88 of Iowa's 99 counties are projected to have at least 20 percent of their population at 65 or older by the year 2030.

Nationally, the average retirement age is now 62, with a life expectancy of 78 years.

"May is Older Americans Month, so we are taking some time to recognize the reality that an increasing number of Iowans are getting older each day," Susan Taylor, ISU Extension and Outreach, Family Life and Family Finance Specialist, said in the release.

Over the past two years, ISU Extension and Outreach of Dubuque County has held two input-gathering programs called Mid Life and Beyond. Each four-session program, or "study circle," gathered people 45 years old and older and got their opinions on topics ranging from physical and emotional health and well-being to financial and occupational issues.

This is particularly salient to the Dubuque area, as 41 percent of Dubuque County's population is 65 or older, according to the press release.

Between the two Mid Life and Beyond study circles, participants identified the following five areas that are important to seniors:

1. Directory of Senior Services. The Community Resource Guide has been updated with additional resources and information for seniors. The guides are now available through a partnership with Project Concern and ISU Extension and Outreach of Dubuque County. There is a printed version. There are plans to put the directory online in the near future.

2. More Easily Accessible Senior Activities. Participants found seniors are trying to connect with meaningful activities. With that in mind, more resources have been included in the Community Resource Guide.

3. Intergenerational Activities - Technology. The group worked with a Loras College professor to offer a series of three classes, in which Loras students provided one-on-one computer and technology mentoring for seniors. The class filled quickly, and there is a waiting list for a future class. People interested in learning more can call 563.583.6496 for details.

4. Life-Long Learning Connections. Participants found seniors are looking for ways to learn new skills, socialize, audit classes at local universities and colleges and stay active with exercise.

5. Connect Seniors with Volunteer Opportunities. This would involve better matching senior volunteers with needs of agencies and groups, as well as encouraging more training for volunteer managers on how to recruit seniors and keep them engaged with meaningful volunteer work.

For more information, people can contact Susan Taylor at taylorse@iastate.edu or 563.583.6496. Information on Mid Life and Beyond is HERE: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/midlife-and-beyond

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