March 30, 2017

Live Beyond Expectations — Regional Strategic Plan

Executive Summary

The Atlanta region is experiencing an unprecedented demographic shift. By 2030, one out of every five residents will be over the age of 60. This change includes not only a dramatic growth in the number of older adults who call Atlanta home. It is also driven by the relatively new phenomenon of longevity—people living longer than ever before.

At the same time, funding for community services older residents is changing. Even the most optimistic projections do not anticipate that funding will keep pace with the growing population.

To address these trends, ARC’s Division of Aging and Health Resources has developed a Live Beyond Expectations Strategic Plan. The plan attempts to understand the changing needs of older residents in the metro area and align services to help meet those needs.

The planning process included in-depth analysis of the region’s demographics and service structure. About 1,200 people throughout the region contributed to the plan’s creation. That group included representatives of all ages and abilities. Caregivers, aging services funders, medical providers, philanthropies, government, home and community-based care services providers and faith-based organizations were among those contributing to the plan.

It is clear that older adults and their families face many of the same challenges today that they encountered in the previous 30 years. The challenge is to find ways to deliver more support and provide greater impact, with fewer resources.

Regional Priorities, Goals and Strategies

  • Transportation – Although Americans are healthier and living longer than ever before, seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7 to 10 years. The goal: Increase the number of older adults and persons with disabilities with access to transportation services.
  • Caregiver Support – Family and other informal caregivers provide the majority of care for frail older adults and persons with disabilities living in communities.
  • Long Term Supports and Services – Nearly 90 percent of people over age 65 want to stay in their home for as long as possible. But in order for many older adults to age at home, there must be high quality, affordable services available to support them.
  • Senior Centers – Senior centers are valued by area residents and were cited in ARC’s strategic plan survey as one of the top places that supports healthy aging.
  • Behavioral Health – Behavioral health encompasses the emotions, behaviors and biology relating to a person’s mental well-being and their ability to function. Behavioral health includes the prevention and intervention in mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
  • Housing – Communities that offer a diversity of housing options are desirable to an aging population. Over a lifetime, housing needs change for many individuals as household size and income decreases. Housing near services becomes more important as the ability to drive decreases.