Iowa Week: Growing Old in Iowa

Oct 12, 2017

Iowa came out near the top in the current national rankings in's new survey "Best and Worst States to Grow Old."  But retiring in Iowa is not without its challenges--especially in rural areas, where retirees may be far away from a heath care clinic, a dentist and a psychologist.   Loneliness also remains a problem for many older people, whether in busy, bigger cities or not.  This hour, we continue our special series of programs on challenges facing our state.  

As Iowa lawmakers plan future spending on priorities from heath care to urban planning, they find themselves confronting more urbanization and a rising elderly population.  And the changes are only speeding up.  Iowa is one of eight states where the population hasn't doubled over the last century.

We begin the hour with's vice-president Tim Sullivan, who tells us the criteria the organization used in coming up with its findings in its 2017 survey about quality of life for older Americans.   Also on the program is University of Iowa assistant professor of anthropology, Elana Buch, who tells Charity about the intimate relationships that adults forge in later life, including with new romantic partners and paid care workers.  Later, we talk to John Hale of Ankeny, who with his wife Terri, are known as passionate and persistent voices on aging and caregiving issues.  They lobby legislators and organize forums around the states to advance ideas to help older Iowans.  Also on the broadcast is Hillary Ramaker, Executive Director of TRAIL of Johnson County, a non-profit that uses volunteers to help people remain in their own homes as they grow older.