Using Local Resources to Age in Place

Jul 27, 2017

Growing old brings challenges. Some of them are harder than others. 

"The hardest thing I had to adjust to was having my teeth in a glass of water next to my bed at night," laughs Evelyn Birkby, who is a nearly 98 and lives in her home in Sidney, Iowa. 

Birkby and her late husband Robert planned to age in their home, and they have done just that. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, she talks with host Charity Nebbe about their preparations, like building their home with a minimal number of stairs to make for easier access in older age. 

Jennifer Margarett, associate professor and director of the gerontology program at Iowa State University, Sharon Yahnke, who directs Faith in Action in Sidney, Iowa, and Margaret DeSio of Aging Resources of Central Iowa also join the conversation. 

In Iowa, there are six area agencies on aging which are funded with the purpose of connecting seniors with resources to help them stay at home. Margarett says those services are underutilized in the state. 

"We are number two in the country in terms of people who are in long term care, and we're number four in the country for people who are in long term care settings with low needs. So, that means we have people who could have their needs served in their homes," Margarett says.