Baseline Assessment Focus Groups
HEZ representatives also conducted Focus Groups with senior citizens at the Senior Center Lunch Program and the Senior Bowling League, as well as with Psychologists and Social Workers from the Bristol Warren Regional School District.
Senior Citizens Focus Groups
Approximately 15 seniors participated in the Senior Lunch and Bowling Focus Groups. Specific concerns related to living a healthier lifestyle include the following:
Public Transportation in Support of Healthy Living
• Senior Center provides transport to medical appointments one day a week, if scheduled in advance.
• Seems the RIPTA system is better designed to get people to employment in Providence, then to move them around Bristol and East Bay. They know that flex service helps address this problem, but aren’t very familiar with it.
• Carpooling fills the mobility gap for many people who have friends or family with cars.
• It would be useful to have more public transit options that would allow people to be more spontaneous. As it stands, if you don’t have a car, you have to plan out your schedule well in advance.
• Would like to see the YMCA reopen.
• Would like to see more opportunities for swimming year round.
• More exercises classes that are adaptable for those with limited mobility; understanding what you can and cannot do to avoid injuries.
Access to Healthy Foods/Nutrition
• Healthier food options are not offered in local restaurants.
• Even with vouchers for farmer’s markets, prices are expensive.
• Interested in education/classes about diabetes (at risk of being diabetic), cholesterol, reading labels and understanding nutritional information
Personal Health and Wellness
• The senior center does a blood pressure check annually, and there is the occasional cholesterol check, but otherwise there • are no health care services on site.
• Prescription medications can be very expensive, even for people with health insurance.
• Prescription drug abuse is a problem for some seniors.
• There are lots of programs offered to seniors, but feel the word is not getting out there.
Psychologists and Social Workers Focus Groups
Approximately ten Psychologists and Social Workers from the Bristol Warren Regional School District participated in a Focus Group, early on in the implementation phase. The response findings were very similar to those of the general public’s across all topic areas, including: strong support that food stores and restaurants in Bristol do not promote healthy eating through promotions and/or advertisements; consensus around limited opportunities for swimming/swim lessons and that recreational opportunities are not equally accessible by all income levels and abilities; a large percentage unaware of any chronic disease monitoring or preventative care programs; an acknowledgement that there is a significant substance abuse problem that needs to be addressed; and, that the community needs to do better when developing/redeveloping the community when considering the pedestrian and bicyclist.