Conditions Facilitating Aging in Place in Rural Communities: The Case of Smart Senior Towns in Iowa
Ilona Matysiak, David J. Peters
January 2023 [23-WP 644]
Matysiak, I. and D.J. Peters. 2023. "Conditions Facilitating Aging in Place in Rural Communities: The Case of Smart Senior Towns in Iowa." Working paper 23-WP 644. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.
The article explores why some small rural communities affected by population aging deal better with this challenge than others, by analyzing the data from the Iowa Small Towns Project (ISTP). The analysis is based on comparisons between ‘smart senior’ towns and ‘vulnerable senior’ towns. The former are defined as aged, but provide good quality senior services according to senior citizens, while the latter are also aged but senior services are rated much lower. Drawing from the aging in place and quality of life literatures, the analysis is focused on several domains, including local services, social capital, as well as opportunities for socializing, leisure, and community engagement. It also encompasses comparisons between two main age groups: residents aged 65+ and those under 65. The findings indicate that smart senior towns score higher on most indicators compared with vulnerable ones. However, the assessments of older residents are significantly more positive than those of younger cohorts.