Indiana’s older adults are depressed, lonely and struggle with boredom, CASOA survey finds

POSTED: January 31, 2018

CICOA to present survey results, discuss solutions at 11:30 a.m., Feb. 16

The depression looms. The loneliness sets in. Then comes the boredom. Older adults in the Indianapolis area are battling each and every day to fight mental health issues, stay active and feel connected. And, it is abundantly clear, Central Indiana communities and agencies should be doing more to support those seniors, according to the 2017 Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults (CASOA).

The study of people age 60 and older in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan and Shelby counties found seniors want to be more involved in their communities, but need help finding the appropriate resources.

CICOA Aging and In-Home Solutions (CICOA) commissioned the study with National Research Center, Inc., which specializes in resident surveys and older adult needs assessments. CICOA Chief Executive Officer Orion Bell will present the results at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 16 at CICOA’S offices, 4755 Kingsway Dr., Indianapolis, in the fourth floor conference rooms. The presentation will be followed by a discussion. Both are open to the public. To sign up, go to

“It’s vital for our community to keep up with the needs of the aging population, and we’ve learned a great deal from this survey that will help us plan for services and amenities that our older adults needs,” Bell said. “We can’t do it alone, which is why we’re sharing this market research with our community partners, so we can work together to do more.”

CICOA conducted its last Community Assessment Survey of Older Adults in 2013. While there were gains in some areas over that time period, several areas pointed to a dire need for help.

For example, there is a pattern of individual physical health needs not being met, the survey found. An estimated 196,000 older residents have trouble doing heavy or intense housework, staying physically fit and maintaining a healthy diet. The data also indicated about 136,000 older residents may have mental health issues, including feeling depressed, lonely and bored or experiencing confusion or forgetfulness.

Some of that may come from the increased demands on older adults, who are caring for loved ones. Of the 4,480 people surveyed, 61 percent are caring for someone else, which is an increase of 9 percent over 2013. Of those adults, 25 percent said they felt physically, emotionally or financially burdened.

The survey also showed an increased number of older adults are receiving care (34 percent) in 2017, compared to 2013 (8 percent).

There are some major high points revealed in the survey. Among those, 88 percent rated their community as a great or excellent place to live. Adults 60 and older also are giving back. The survey showed more than one-third of seniors participated in volunteer activities, which is estimated to be worth $323 million a year. Older adults still in the workforce contribute about $2.8 billion to the local economy.

Remaining productive is key to older adults’ well-being. Seniors in Central Indiana engaged regularly in social and leisure programs, attending or viewing civic meetings, volunteering and helping others.
What also became clear is that older adults need more easily accessible information about services that are available to them.

“We serve a lot of elders in the community, and we know there are a lot more that could benefit from our services,” Bell said. “Our Aging and Disability Resource Center helps people in need navigate the public services and programs, but we also know there is more we can do.”

The research will drive new strategies to get seniors the information and assistance they need, so that CICOA can help them enjoy a high quality of life in Central Indiana. After all, according to the survey, that’s where they want to stay throughout their retirement.

“We want to keep seniors healthy, active and engaged,” Bell said. “Our goal is to help connect them with the services to ensure they are maintaining a high quality of life.”


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