In their continued efforts to be a voice for all South Dakotans and especially those ages 50 and older, AARP in South Dakota commissioned a survey to learn more about the experiences of those 50+ residents living in small communities or rural areas. The survey gauges the experience and opinions of these residents about their communities, caregiving, grandparenting, local discount offerings, volunteering, Internet usage, and certain legislative issues that AARP may be able to address in the year ahead on behalf of older South Dakotans.
Key findings included:
- While most South Dakotans ages 50 and older who live in small towns and rural areas of the state say it is extremely (38%) or very (35%) important to them to remain in their community or area for as long as possible, fewer would rate their community as an excellent place for people to live as they age.
- One-quarter (25%) of all respondents have provided unpaid assistance or care in the past two years for a relative, friend, spouse, partner or companion. Additionally, nearly one in ten (9%) are currently receiving care or help from a friend, relative, or neighbor.
- Three-quarters (76%) of all respondents to this survey say they have grandchildren, great grandchildren, or step-grandchildren and almost one in five (18%) of them help with the day-to-day responsibilities of those children. Also notable, over one in ten (13%) of all respondents say they provide care or baby-sit the children or grandchildren of their friends and neighbors.
- Most (90%) South Dakotans ages 50 and older living in small towns and rural areas have at least one working phone in their home or on their property that is not a cell phone and most (90%) have a working cell phone in the household.
- When asked to consider their view of how South Dakota should balance the state Budget, four in ten (41%) prefer cuts to spending on state services without tax increases to balance the budget, and over one third (36%) prefer the state to do both – cut spending and raise taxes.
The survey was conducted by Questar among 1,853 individuals age 50+ living in small communities or rural areas in South Dakota. For more information, please contact Jennifer H. Sauer at 202-434-6207.