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West Bloomington Task Force, Applied Community and Economic Development, Stevenson Center


The experience and process of aging has become a prominent topic of discussion nationwide and Central Illinois is no exception, due to the rapid growth within the senior population in the area. The 60 and over population of Illinois is projected to grow by 87% during the next 30 years (The Maturing of Illinois). An initiative has been developed to evaluate how prepared local communities are for older adults by conducting needs assessments, which can also serve as vital tools for those who plan and provide human services in communities. Often community leaders will form policies and allocate limited resources based on assumptions about the needs of the senior population and outdated information (Parsons and Higley 1995). This report is part of a larger needs assessment that will serve as a resource for community leaders to use in future policies and projects that will involve senior West Bloomington residents. This report examines needs of the senior population of West Bloomington as well as how organizations provide for those needs as evaluated by the senior population themselves. Based on our findings and recognizing the limitations of the study, we make recommendations for action and future research.



The Applied Community and Economic Development Graduate Students at Illinois State University wholeheartedly thank the residents who participated in the key informant interviews and focus groups as well as State Farm for providing the money to purchase lunch for the focus groups. They would also like to thank Joseph Alustiza and Mike O‟Donnell from the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging and Connie Griffin, Marsha Beeler, Heather Paul from the West Bloomington Task Force for their assistance with the focus groups. The ACED students would also like to thank Dr. Joan Brehm for her guidance and support throughout this project as well as the Stevenson Center for the resources and support provided.

We also wish to acknowledge the following partners for their collaboration and support: PATH, Peace Meals, Community Cares Solutions, Gridley-Allin-Pricket Neighborhood Association, Olde Towne Neighborhood Association, Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, City of Bloomington, Parks and Recreation. Finally, we want to give a special thanks to the senior residents of West Bloomington for their time and participation.