CASOA™ is a strategic planning and evaluation tool that communities and organizations use to develop their older adult service plans, determine how future resources will be allocated, evaluate their current service provision, influence key stakeholders, empower community members and monitor success. Developed by National Research Center at Polco, it is the first and one of the only tools available that seeks answers from the older adults themselves about their experience in the community.
The Division of Aging in Indiana works with Polco to conduct the Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults (CASOA™). 16 Area Agencies on Aging from across the state were selected to participate in the study, with each AAA receiving an independent report as well as access to the statewide report. While some of the findings were surprising and merit further study, others were a good reflection of the work already being done across Indiana.
Orion Bell, CEO of CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions summed up the experience nicely:
“I truly appreciate the opportunity to have the CASOA survey conducted on a statewide basis. The CASOA study pulls together census data, survey results and projections that are helpful in presenting the current ‘state of affairs’ for older adults and also provides a framework for future discussions and longer term planning. […]
We are looking at ways we can use the CASOA study to further discussions in our service area with thought leaders, public officials and others and ensure that the needs of older adults are considered not only within the AAA, but others who can enable ‘elder friendly communities.’ […]
We would like to use the survey findings as a framework for focus groups in our area on how communities can prepare to meet the future needs of older adults in their community. There are a number of study results that suggest opportunities/needs for new programs, i.e. employment assistance for older workers who report difficulty in finding work or having sufficient financial resources. We would like to do some ‘deep dives’ into the data, and how to interpret and utilize the results.
The CASOA study validates the need for existing programs and provides baseline data for program effectiveness. It also offers us the opportunity to explore unmet or previously unidentified needs or concerns in the community, and areas for capacity building.