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Polco News & Knowledge

How to Prepare Your Community for the Aging Population

By 2040, one in four Americans will be advanced in age, according to the U.S. Census.  In order to prepare communities for the aging demographic, it has become increasingly essential for local governments to understand the needs and strengths of their older adult populations. 

National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) has surveyed thousands of older residents from across the United States about the livability of their communities.  In this video, NRC’s Vice President Michelle Kobayashi shares the data that leaders need to know in order to best serve the advanced age adults who live there now and in the future.

These data come from the Community Assessment for Older Adults™ (CASOA™) and The National Citizen Survey™ (The NCS™).


Top Ten Things You Need to Know to Prepare Your Community for the Aging Population


1. Communities are forever changed

  • Advanced age populations in the U.S. are quickly increasing.
  • Older adults are assets to the community.

2. Older residents like where they live

  • Most of them would recommend their community to others and plan to remain there.

3.  Our society is data rich but information poor

  • 5 in 10 said availability of information about resources for older adults is excellent or good.

4.  Many older adults have too much time and not enough to do

  • While religious/spiritual opportunities rated highly, many older adults are unsatisfied with social and cultural activities in their communities.

5.  Call for the Encore

  • Many older adults reported problems with finding work after retirement and with finances.

6.  Health and Wellness

  • Most older adults reported “excellent” or “good” overall physical health.
  • Many of them reported having problems with physical health, fitness, healthy diet, mental health and falls.

7.    Aging in Place

  • About half of older residents are happy with the variety of affordable housing and care options.
  • They may need assistance with heavy house and yard work.

8.  Caregiving

  • Adults ages 50+ often take care of other older adults.
  • Some of them reported feeling emotionally, physically or financially burdened.

9.  Mobility

  • Nearly 3 in 10 reported problems with safe and affordable travel.

10.  You are not alone

  • For help in serving advanced age populations, look to government, community based organizations, private sector and residents.



National Research Center’s COMMUNITY ASSESSMENT SURVEY FOR OLDER ADULTS asks advanced aged citizens themselves about their circumstances and needs.  CASOA assesses multiple community dimensions as they relate to older adults, and has been named “The best fit for measuring age friendliness of a community” by the City of London, Ontario.


This is an updated post, originally published in 2016.


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