As the baby boomer population continues to get older, many communities are beginning to focus on how they can help accommodate the generation.
In Franklin County, the number of seniors is expected to grow at even faster rate than the rest of Virginia. The 2010 census shows, 25% of the Franklin County population will be 65 and older by 2030.
Students at Ferrum College are reviewing information they've collected from focus groups targeting the needs of seniors.
"Everyone really has strong opinions in this county and I think they all need to be heard," Kaitlin Harlow, Ferrum College student says.
The idea is for the students to help the Franklin County Department of Aging Services come up with a strategic plan to present to the Franklin County Board of Supervisors. They hope to better prepare for the significant growth of seniors expected in the new few years. The results the students found are even impacting the way they think about their own future.
"It's completely changed my way of thinking," Harlow says. "I want to make sure I have the resources they are desperately in need of."
The main concerns the students found are with healthcare, recreation, housing, communication, and transportation.
"The Ferrum College students have done an excellence job in helping with this because we've started from scratch and we've had to build on support from community as we go forward," Sue Boyd, Franklin County Aging Services Director says.
The instructor leading the class, Peg Wimmer, says some of the problems can be solved without spending a lot of money. She says many of the seniors didn't know about services already in place, like the 211 program.
"It's about neighbors helping neighbors," Peg Wimmer, Ferrum College Sociology Instructor, says. "It's things Franklin County people are known for like hospitality, caring, friendliness, and expanding the realm of who's involved."
By keeping this problem at the top of the mind, these groups hope they can make a big difference.