ISU Institute of Rural Health awarded $40,000 contract to study needs of elderly

The Idaho Commission on Aging has awarded Idaho State University’s Institute of Rural Health a six-month, $40,000 contract to study the current and future needs of Idaho’s aging population.

Researchers will explore the needs of older Idahoans, if citizens are aware of the senior services available in their communities and if those services are meeting their needs.

Russ Spearman

Russ Spearman

Services might include legal assistance, home-delivered meals, case management, caregiver relief, and information and referral, said Russell Spearman, a senior research associate based at the ISU-Meridian Health Science Center.

He is working on the project with IRH research administrator and research assistant professor Dr. Cyndy Kelchner, based at ISU’s Pocatello campus.

In October, the two will begin surveying as many as 3,000 Idahoans over age 60 from across the Gem State. Spearman and Kelchner’s research will help the Idaho Commission on Aging—which receives federal funding under the Older Americans Act—determine if it’s providing the correct mix of services across its six planning and service areas.

Cyndy Kelchner

Cyndy Kelchner

“I think it is important Idahoans are aware of available elder services in their communities—particularly in rural areas, which are often underserved,” said Spearman.