Johnson County seniors aren’t always sure of what local agencies to reach out to when they need help, have increased concerns about being the victim of a scam or fraud and have a continued need for reliable transportation, affordable housing and food, a recent survey showed.
The survey of Johnson County residents asked questions about how well the community is meeting their needs and what challenges they are facing in their daily lives. One of the primary goals of the survey is to provide localized information to nonprofits and organizations that provide services to seniors so they can know where to best focus their efforts, said Orion Bell, president and CEO of CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions.
The Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults, which is done once every three years, is taken in counties across the state by CICOA, a nonprofit agency that oversees state and federal funds for programs assisting seniors and people with disabilities in eight central Indiana counties.
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In many cases, the needs highlighted by the survey serve as a confirmation of the anecdotal experiences local organizations are having, Bell said.
The population of seniors in Johnson County — residents age 60 or older — has risen from 24,500 in 2010 to 28,600 in 2016, an increase of nearly 17 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Three out of four seniors who responded to the survey said a problem for residents their age is knowing what services are available for them.
For nonprofit agencies, which don’t have much money to advertise their services, finding other ways to inform the community about what they do is extremely important, Bell said.
That means working with law enforcement and emergency workers so they can refer the people they assist to the right agencies. Local agencies also need to be aware of the other services in their community, so that they can direct seniors to other places for assistance if their agency can’t help, he said.
That issue isn’t unique to Johnson County, as 64 percent of seniors surveyed in the state said that knowing about available services is a concern for them.
Seniors also cited higher concerns about being the victim of a crime, with 32 percent saying they were worried about fraud and scams. In the past year, elderly victims in Johnson County have been taken advantage of in scams where they have lost anywhere from $1,000 to $35,000, according to police.
Basic services, such as having an affordable place to live, having safe and affordable transportation and having enough food to eat, are all concerns that have increased for local seniors, according to the survey.
Those are concerns that mirror issues faced by seniors across Indiana, according to the survey.
A survey looked at issues facing seniors in Johnson County and across Indiana. Here’s a look at some of the concerns seniors in Johnson County raised, and how that compares elsewhere in Indiana:
Being a victim of fraud
Johnson County: 32 percent
Indiana: 20 percent
Having housing to suit needs
Johnson County: 21 percent
Indiana: 19 percent
Having enough food to eat
Johnson County 16 percent
Indiana: 14 percent
Having safe and affordable transportation available
Johnson County: 40 percent
Indiana: 26 percent
SOURCE: 2017 Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults