Survey Assesses Strengths and Weakness of Service Agencies for the Elderly

Analyzing results from a study of community service organizations' programs for older adults

In 2000, the National Council on the Aging conducted a survey among community service organizations concerning their health and social support programs for older adults.

Key Findings

  • In 2001, the council published a report on the types of services and programs available to older adults. A National Survey of Health and Supportive Services in the Aging Network is available online.

  • In 2002, the council reported the following findings to RWJF based on their analysis of survey data:

    • Respondents generally rated their programs best at linking clients to other services and offering convenient locations/schedules, and weakest at incorporating high technology tools, demonstrating cultural competence and fostering client self-efficacy.
    • The leading barriers to program expansion are financing and staffing.
    • Program components that have the strongest impact on outcomes include securing community support for the program, operating with strong program management, fostering client self-efficacy and assuring program accessibility.
    • Of the four types of programming, physical activity programs received the lowest performance scores, but scored the highest for cost-effectiveness.
    • Programs that serve larger minority populations do a better job of cultural outreach.
    • Program accessibility has a strong impact on program quality for physical activity programs, programs based on a well-recognized model and on senior centers.
    • Larger programs generally do better than smaller ones at securing funding and community support but not as well at building client self-care skills and fostering self-efficacy.
    • It appears that resource investment in outcomes measurement, cultural outreach, recruiting new clients and improving accessibility offer the greatest opportunity for return on investment.

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