Virginia state and housing leaders are finding success with informing plans and raising funds to benefit aging in place for their older population. Learn how in this webinar presented by Polco.
Studies show older adults want to age in place. But with nationwide affordable housing shortages, many Americans worry they won’t be able to. "It's getting more expensive to live in America," said Polco Principal Research Strategist Michelle Kobayashi, reporting data from National Research Center from Polco.
Research Identifies Housing Needs for Older Residents
Kobayashi continued, "Only about three in ten [Americans] say the availability of affordable, quality housing is excellent or good in their community. So [this] is a huge issue for residents of all ages.”
Kobayashi also described the impact that housing and aging in place have on the older adult population. “Research has shown that people who actually age in their own homes, instead of institutions, experience better health and mental health outcomes,” she said.
Experts point to housing modifications and in-home services as solutions for older adult living, especially in rural areas. Unfortunately, these types of services often go underfunded. And many state agencies say they need reliable data to help justify grant funding and meet federal guidelines.
“With that limited budget and high demand for these important services, it can be particularly challenging for older adults who are not eligible for Medicaid free, for functional or financial reasons,” explained Charlotte Arbogast, Senior Policy Analyst at the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS).
Informing State Plans To Help Older Adults Age in Place
So, the State of Virginia conducted a large-scale needs assessment, the Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults (CASOA), as part of a larger data initiative.
“It allowed us to directly hear from older Virginians, particularly those who may not be plugged into services through their AAA's local departments, DARS, or other state agencies,” said Arbogast.
“Our ultimate outcome goal is that we're hoping Virginians will remain in their homes and communities longer. Thus generating systemic cost avoidance for more expensive institutional services.”
The CASOA survey results have informed strategic plans, helped win grant funding, and enabled the state to address housing challenges for the aging population effectively.
“We get that information and take it internally. So we can develop some new programs that Virginia Housing is able to provide for the developers, primarily, who will ultimately build the housing we need for older adults,” said Abby Boyd, Director of Housing Opportunities at Virginia Housing.
About the Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults (CASOA)
The Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults (CASOA) by Polco reports the needs and strengths of the older population and the age-friendliness of their jurisdiction. The survey results give leaders the information needed to plan effectively for older adults now and in the future.
CASOA summarizes key dimensions of community livability drawn from older adults’ perspectives. This national benchmarking survey also compares the responses of older residents in a participating jurisdiction to the opinions of others across the country.
Developed by experts in survey research and aging services, CASOA clearly describes the community’s readiness to serve the needs of the aging demographic. CASOA shows local governments and Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) which public services most need attention, such as affordable housing options and aging in place.