Problem

Is Central Indiana a good place to grow old?  Are the basic needs of older adults in Central Indiana being met? What are emerging trends and issues related to older adults in Central Indiana?

Solution

A collaborative effort by Central Indiana Senior Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF); The Polis Center at IUPUI; the IU Center for Aging Research (IUCAR); and the IU Public Policy Institute’s (PPI) Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy (CRISP), addresses these concerns in a new report, The State of Aging in Central Indiana, published April 15. In addition to this report, the joint endeavor produces issue briefs on emerging topics and an interactive information portal.

The State of Aging Report examines growing old in Central Indiana

Resource to inform policymaking, programming, and funding allocation

Funded by Central Indiana Senior Fund, the State of Aging in Central Indiana Report, portal, and briefs serve as the premiere source of data related to growing older in Central Indiana. These resources provide community leaders, decision-makers, older adult-serving entities, and philanthropic organizations place-based information to identify needed programs, funding, and policies. The goal is to help older adults in Central Indiana have equal opportunity for a healthy, dignified, and enjoyable life.

Research shows that older adults are the fastest growing demographic in Central Indiana, as approximately 24,000 adults turn 55 and 22,000 turn 60 each year. By the year 2030, one in every five Hoosiers will be over the age of 65. To enhance the ability of older adults to live and thrive in Central Indiana, it is important to understand the population trends, notable changes, and basic needs of this growing demographic.

“The data within this report is monumental in how it will influence not just Central Indiana Senior Fund but all organizations that serve our seniors,” said Jim Leach, chair of the advisory board for Central Indiana Senior Fund at CICF. “Having the knowledge of how place, race and identity impact the ability to connect our older adults to resources will empower us to find and support solutions that are centered in equity.”

Central Indiana Senior Fund is currently accepting requests for funding of senior services with an application deadline of June 30. Learn more about the grant guidelines and apply here.

 Research highlights reveal:

  • One in 10 older adults faces food insecurity, and many people experience diminished access to transportation as they age, which limits access to other resources.
  • Some older adults described challenges to remaining in their own homes, and providers report difficulties accessing some older adults who need assistance. Meanwhile, one in three older adults feel lonely and isolated, despite the awareness by more than half of community activities in which to participate.
  • Among adults age 55 to 84, cancer is the leading cause of death, while heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults 85 and older. While health care is generally accessible in Central Indiana, the rural areas suffer from a lack of providers with a geriatric specialty. Four in five older adults provide care for another person; two in five do so for another adult age 60 and older. One quarter of those who care for others report being burdened by those responsibilities.
  • Older adults in Central Indiana experience aging differently based on their race, ethnicity, income levels, and other factors. Systemic inequity – which includes systemic racism and biases against gender, income, sexual orientation, and others – exists across multiple systems. These behaviors are difficult to overcome without the support and influence of external entities to call out the negative efforts and identify solutions to address those issues.

Karen Frederickson Comer, Polis Center Director, Collaborative Research and Community Health Informatics, says, “Community conditions affect how long and how well we live.  Toward achieving more equitable and healthy aging in Central Indiana, the State of Aging in Central Indiana portal provides a wealth of information about local conditions and will be used to prompt community conversation and action.