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.
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.