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Case Study: In Kirkland, WA, Making Support Services a Priority in Tight Economic Times

2009 | Download

A case study of how Kirkland, Wash., made support services for older adults a priority in tight economic times.

Providing an array of accessible support services is a good promotional strategy for attracting near- retirees and retirees to a city, and for retaining the current retiree population. Cities that plan ahead  and build support for the growing number of older adults who will choose to “age in place” can realize a number of benefits. For example, older adults will contribute significantly to local economies. Retired residents invest in local banks and investment firms, and buy their food and essential goods at local  shopping and retail centers. Older adults also contribute to civic life. Recent polls suggest that boomer retirees will be more likely to volunteer their skills and expertise with city agencies and philanthropic  campaigns. Cities can take advantage of the increasing pool of community volunteers by establishing  city council-appointed advisory groups that represent boomers, as well as the existing population of  older adults (ages 65 and older). Ideally these advisory groups would also coordinate with the local  Area Agencies on Aging, which are typically administered through county social and human services departments. 

The Kirkland Senior Council is very active, and has successfully implemented a number of special projects and campaigns over the past year. Recent efforts include: 

  • A “Falls Prevention” educational campaign
  • “Baby Boomers and Beyond: A Healthy Living Expo” targeted toward adults ages 50 and older
  • A promotional campaign seeking to recruit older adults for local neighborhood associations
  • A strategic initiative that encourages surrounding cities to establish their own senior councils
  • A variety of educational video programs, such as “SWAY: How to Influence Your Elected Officials” and “Aging in Place in Kirkland: Universal Design in Housing is Good for Everyone”

Download the study.