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Indiana Surveys Older Adults to Understand Their Needs

The State of Indiana


Indiana’s elderly population is growing quickly. Around 20% of Americans will be over 65 by 2030. To understand how to best support older residents, Indiana leaders surveyed older adults at a state-wide level and incorporated the results for federal reporting and state plans.

Topics Covered


Initial: 50 Thousand USD


General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2021

Gov Champion

State Unit on Aging

Problem Addressed

Indiana leaders wanted to learn how to best support their older adult population and provide resources where they are essential.

Baby boomers will be the largest generation of older adults in history. By 2030, one out of every five people will be 65 or older. The reality of this shift may have dramatic consequences on the states and systems that are meant to help them.

The State of Indiana wanted to get a clear view of what the older community thought about quality of life in the state and understand what services may be lacking.

With insight from older adults, the state officials could align funding to the critical areas of need. They could also incorporate findings into state plans, which are due every four years. Reporting data would fulfill the federal government’s needs assessment and demonstrate the reasoning behind state plan decision-making.

Indiana needed a way to understand its older population so officials could build a quality community for all ages and satisfy reporting requirements. The question was how to accomplish this.

Solutions Used

Surveying residents provided Indiana leaders with clear information on quality of life for the state’s older adults

In 2021, the State of Indiana used Polco’s Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults®(CASOA®) to get a clear view of what older residents think about quality of life in their state and to develop projects based on resident needs. The state’s Division of Aging conducted the survey in coordination with Polco.

In total, the state mailed 85,000 CASOA surveys to randomly selected Indiana residents over 65. Each randomly selected resident received a paper survey with return postage and a postcard with a weblink directing them to take the survey online.

Indiana residents who were not selected in the random sample had the opportunity to take CASOA on the State of Indiana’s Polco profile for additional insight. The state received 7,845 responses from the randomly-selected pool, as well as 785 responses from the open participation portion. Older residents identified housing, physical health, and information about adult services as the most important areas of focus.

The state has conducted CASOA three times since 2013, which allows leaders to track their results over time. Each time responses were analyzed and presented to Indiana’s state and area agency on aging leaders. The survey findings were also incorporated into state older adult service plans and helped make the case for adding or continuing specific programs that require funding. Furthermore, the survey results fulfilled government reporting requirements.



Indiana received 8,630 survey responses that unveiled what quality of life priorities are most important to older adults


Survey data identified housing, physical health, and information about adult services as the top priorities that should be addressed in state planning


To better understand their results, the state can compare their CASOA data against other municipalities in the US that have also conducted the survey


Using the CASOA multiple times since 2013 allows leaders to see what metrics are improving, staying the same, or worsening


The state is considering surveying the population again in two years as part of a master plan on aging, which will be broader than the state plan

Something Unique

Indiana hired an external contractor to facilitate feedback sessions to more impartially gather information for plan revisions.

Who Should Consider

States and local governments that want to understand the needs of their older adult population so they can shape state plans and provide support where it’s needed most.

Last Updated

Aug 9th, 2022

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