Making Montgomery County a Great Place to Live:
The 2014 Livable Communities Survey of Montgomery County, Tennessee Registered Voters Age 45+
AARP defines a livable community as one that allows people to maintain their independence and quality of life as they age and retire. With that, a livable neighborhood provides resources and fosters engagement in their neighborhood’s civic, economic, and social life. AARP Tennessee commissioned a neighborhood needs gap analysis of Montgomery County registered voters age 45+ via a phone survey. (Note: From now on we will refer to this group as respondents.) Key findings are provided in this executive summary. The survey - completed by 800 people – set out to identify and prioritize areas of focus related to neighborhood needs.
Overall, Montgomery County residents age 45+ (survey respondents) are rooted in their community. They are long-time residents of their neighborhoods and are unlikely to move into a different home or leave their neighborhoods altogether. More than half have lived in their community for at least 25 years. Respondents are satisfied with their community and think Montgomery County is a good place for older people to live. They also would like to stay in their community and neighborhood for as long as possible.
While a large majority of them want to stay in their homes and communities as they age, respondents are faced with the challenging reality of securing for themselves a future where affordable, independent living is possible. To mitigate this burden, community resources are necessary.
The most important neighborhood features and services to respondents are:
• Safe streets
More than nine in ten (92%) respondents believe safe streets to be extremely or very important.
• Services to help people live independently as they grow older
Two-thirds (72%) say having a wide variety of services to promote independent living are extremely or very important. Almost seven in ten (69%) say having a nurse, home health aide or personal care attendant to help with personal needs is extremely or very important.
• Special transportation services for older adults or persons with disabilities
Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents believe it extremely or very important to have special transportation services for seniors or persons with disabilities.
In order to identify the needs of survey respondents, “gaps” were studied between attributes listed as important and whether these attributes exist. These gaps symbolize features and services that are important to respondents but may not currently be available in their community.
The primary neighborhood needs (gaps) identified by respondents are:
• Services to help people live independently as they grow older.
Most especially, services that help low-income or older adults with home repairs as well as chore or homemaker services to help with light housekeeping/cleaning.
Ultimately, people want to stay in their neighborhood – preferably their own homes - as they age but are concerned that their communities may lack the resources needed to achieve this goal.
Additional findings include:
• Most respondents own their own homes (90%), and reside in single family or multigenerational homes (93%).
• Almost all respondents drive themselves to get to where they want to go (93%).
2% walk, 2% use public transportation and about 6% rely on family or friends to get around their neighborhood
• Approximately one-third (30%) of the older US population has long term care needs . Similar numbers (34%) of survey respondents indicate that they or a family member are likely to need long term care in the next five years.
• Respondents believe that the issue of adequate and universally accessible sidewalks, trails and crossings are critical for successful independent living (60%).
Findings from this survey, with supplemental findings from community residents, can be utilized by many entities, ranging from the City of Clarksville, Montgomery County Clarksville Regional Planning Commission, businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations and volunteer organizations. This data also has great potential for use in grant applications, providing guidance for improvements in community infrastructure and services, business development and/or expansion, and volunteer efforts that will help meet the needs of older adults living in Montgomery County.
As an initial step, this report will be shared with the City of Clarksville and Montgomery County leaders and planning teams.
Easy-to-share pdfs are available, of both the full report and the executive summary, below.
TN 2014 Montgomery County TN Livability Survey - Executive Summary
TN 2014 Montgomery County TN Livability Survey - Full Report