Wyoming is a rural state, averaging only 5.2 people per square mile, as compared to the national average of 86 people per square mile. It is the ninth largest state in landmass, but the smallest in population size. Of the 23 counties in Wyoming, 17 are considered “frontier,” and four are considered “rural.” The Wyoming Department of Health organized this plan to meet the requirements of the Older Americans Act, and focused its efforts on how the rural landscape affects what is seen as important to the older adult population, such as healthcare access, transportation, community-based programs, long-term care, senior center roles, nutrition, support services, and elder rights.
Due to the extreme rural area, as well as a difficult climate and sparse population centers, the Wyoming aging plan recognizes the importance of collaborating across community, state, and federal levels to implement the strategies needed for successful aging in the state. With this mind, unlike most other state plans, the objectives stated in this plan were directly influenced by Wyoming seniors, as well as service providers, mayors, state representatives, and other interested citizens. This ensures that the services provided address the opinions and needs of Wyoming’s older adult population as well as the other community stakeholders that can help make aging in place more likely.
Other plan highlights include:
- In 2008, the estimated population in Wyoming was 532,660, with 12.3 percent of the population over 65. Of these older adults, 7.6 percent are below the Federal Poverty Level.
- The majority of Wyoming communities lack competition between providers because the provider/patient ratio is insufficient. This is the case for both medical providers in private practice, as well as home healthcare providers.
- Of the older adult population in Wyoming, 20.1 percent stated having a disability.
- In 2006, 26 percent of Wyoming adults recently provided some sort of care to an elderly relative or friend.
How to Use
This plan is a great example and resource for any rural community organizing aging initiatives. It is packed with demographic information, citizen and stakeholder opinions and feedback, and partnership and program details. Additionally, it clearly lays out goals, objectives, strategies, and outcome performance measures that will help improve service delivery and support in a state that has geography challenges.
View full report: Wyoming State Plan on Aging – 2010-2012 (PDF – 3.7 MB)