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W&M Student, Lilly Pope, Studies the Needs of Williamsburg’s Older Adults

How well are older adults in Williamsburg and the surrounding counties doing?  A recent report released by the Williamsburg Health Foundation, “Older Adults:  Where We Are and Where We’re Going,” answers this question through its compendium of both quantitative and qualitative data.  For nearly a year, Lilly Pope (’23), a Public Policy and Kinesiology (public health) double major, has worked with the Foundation to help gather the data and co-write the report with William & Mary alum, Paulette Parker (’96).  Lilly began her work as a research intern with the Foundation last summer, and she continued to help while a full-time student at William & Mary this year.  During the Foundation’s recent presentation to the Williamsburg community on the report’s findings, Ms. Parker thanked Lilly, her “very talented intern who did the leg work to pull this [report] together.”

The report highlights that the older adult population, aged 60 and above, is rapidly growing in the Greater Williamsburg area, from over 34,000 in 2011 to 44,330 in 2019 – a nearly 23% increase.  Unfortunately, Virginia data shows that older adults are less healthy than others, with substantially higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.  In describing access to healthcare, the report states that over 67% of the 65 and older population in the Greater Williamsburg area has Medicare coverage, and that 21,389 non-elderly people and 1,310 older adults are enrolled in Medicaid.  For more findings from the report, read here.

Commenting on her experience, Lilly states: “I was thrilled to work with Paulette on this comprehensive report on the health status of the older adults in Greater Williamsburg.  This is a large segment of the population in our surrounding area and a population that both adds a lot to the community and could greatly benefit from wider supports.”