Fayette County

Lexington survey seeks input from senior citizens on how to better serve them

Lexington wants to know how it can be more-user friendly to its aging population.

On Wednesday, the city announced it was launching a comprehensive survey to ask senior citizens for input on everything from city parks to access to health care.

"We are the first city in Kentucky to do this," said Beth Mills, the city's commissioner of social services.

A recent AARP report card on state spending for community-based care for seniors has Kentucky at the very bottom. Most of Kentucky's dollars for seniors go to long-term care or nursing homes rather than community-based care and planning, Mills said.

"Kentucky as a whole fairs very poorly for community-based services for seniors," Mills said. Lexington wants to change that. With a new state-of-the-art senior center in Idle Hour going online in 2016, the city wants to ensure that it's planning for the needs of seniors who live in the community, she said.

The city of Lexington, AARP and the Bluegrass Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living are spearheading efforts to make the survey widely available. The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/livablelexington. Hard copies can be found at the Lexington Senior Center at Nicholasville Road and Alumni Drive.

The survey asks seniors about key areas relating to quality of life: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community support and health services.

Mills said the survey will be available until the end of the year. The results of that survey will be used to develop a Livable Lexington plan. The data will be correlated by researchers at the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and the plan likely won't be released until spring 2015. The information from the survey can be used community-wide, Mills said.

"Lexington is a wonderful city, but there is always room for improvement," said Mary Crowley-Schmidt, assistant director of the Bluegrass Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living. "That's especially true where senior adults are concerned. We believe that a community that takes care of its senior adults is a community that takes care of all its citizens."