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Looking to Help Seniors Age in Place

Virginia Governor's Conference on Aging

How to keep older Virginians in their homes was one of the big topics discussed at a conference at the Hotel Roanoke this week.

Today there are nearly one and a half million Virginians over the age of 60 – a large number of which are located in the southwest portion of the state.

Nancy Brossoie with the Center of Gerontology at Virginia Tech says that population faces a number of challenges, but none more taxing than the geographic makeup of the area.

“This is an area of our state that is full of hills and hollers, and if you’ve ever been in a holler you don’t get cell service in a holler. In fact, people live so far off the beaten track that even getting home-based services to their homes is very difficult.”

Attendees to this week’s Conference on Aging are discussing strategies to help rectify some of those challenges.

One organization in attendance is the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens. The group is working towards repurposing older mobile homes to create a senior living community for the elderly population in Southwest Virginia.

“We would take these mobile homes as we acquired them or purchased them," says executive director Regina Sayers. "We have renovated those; turned those so that they are handicap accessible, and they have ramps and everything on them, and make them a truly much better home than what some of our seniors in our communities are living in.”

Officials hope the conference will help make Virginia the most age-friendly state in the country.