Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Political Science

Advisor

Barbara Shadden

Committee Member

Barbara Hinton

Second Committee Member

Valerie Hunt

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to explore the impact of the Baby Boomer Generation on the future services provided by Senior Centers in Northwest Arkansas, specifically in Benton, Madison, and Washington counties. The study was a mixed methods design utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods. Three research groups were used: Nine Senior Center Directors, which were interviewed; one focus group composed of four Baby Boomers; and a print survey distributed to ninety-two Baby Boomers. The data revealed that changes are needed in the program and services in Senior Centers to attract the Baby Boomer Generation. Changes will need to include updating facilities and eliminating the institutional feel to the buildings. Providing current and trendy programs, activities, and education was also recommended. The primary policy implication is funding, which affects all of the areas suggested for change. Senior Centers will need to find innovative ways to increase funding or reduce expenses, and starting entrepreneurial activities and building community partnerships is one method to increase resources. If increased funding is not forthcoming, then a re-evaluation of the target group of seniors is warranted, along with a review of the best way to service seniors on a limited budget.

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