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Gather Basic Information About Older People

The following are websites you can review and/or organizations you might contact to prepare a brief demographic overview of older adults in the U.S. and in the communities of interest to your foundation.

  • Take a look at Grantmakers In Aging for an online tutorial that walks you through the process of researching what’s already known about older people in your community.
  • Visit the website of the federal Administration for Community Living (ACL) to check out its AGing Integrated Database
  • Use the website of the U.S. Census Bureau for your state, county, and city/town statistics
  • Contact the planning agency at your municipal, county, or state government for more specific statistics about older adults
  • Contact your state department on aging and ask where you can find information about older people in your community
  • Ask your United Way for demographic information on older people in your community
  • Contact your local Area Aging on Aging (AAA), which you can find by visiting the website of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A)

In some communities, statistical information is easy to obtain, while in other places the information will be more limited. Include in your overview as much of this information as you are able to collect:

  • Total population of your target community and the percentage of older people
  • The percentage change in older adults over the next 5 or 10 years and expected change in future years
  • Number of older people in each of these age groups: 55 to 64, 65 to 74, 75 to 84, 85 plus. (The younger-old have different concerns, abilities, and opportunities than older groups.)
  • Number/percentage of older adults by race and ethnicity, since these groups may face unique challenges
  • Number/percentage of older people who live in poverty, which suggests challenges such as access to healthcare, dental care, vision or hearing aids, food, transportation, etc.
  • Number/percentage of older adults who live alone, since isolation is a risk factor for health and well-being.
  • Comparison of your community’s demographics to county, state, or U.S. demographics to determine how your area is unique or special.
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