An online survey designed to improve the quality of life for older Hoosiers in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis began Thursday.
AARP Indiana and Purdue University's Center for Regional Development are assessing the age-friendliness of both cities, where aging populations are expected to grow over the next two decades, according to a Purdue news release.
The Livable Communities Survey, available through Dec. 15, will assess the opinions of people 45 and older on topics such as housing, outdoor spaces, transportation and streets, health and wellness, social participation, educational opportunities, volunteering and civic engagement and job opportunities.
Fort Wayne residents can complete the survey at https://bit.ly/2qjlRpK. Indianapolis residents can complete it at https://bit.ly/2Q89GHF. Responses are anonymous. No information will be collected that could identify any individual.
The survey is part of AARP's Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities initiative, which encourages communities to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population.
Hoosiers 45 and older made up almost 36 percent of the Indianapolis population and more than 37 percent of Fort Wayne's population in 2016, according to census figures. By 2040, those numbers are expected to increase by about 18 percent in Marion County and nearly 24 percent in Allen County, the release said.
“Data gathered from the survey will help leaders have meaningful conversations about how to harness the value that older Hoosiers bring to their communities and engage these residents to be even more involved,” said Sarah Waddle, state director for AARP Indiana. “We also hope to encourage these areas to become AARP Age-Friendly Communities by using this data to identify community needs and implement a plan to address those needs.”
Michael Wilcox, the senior associate at Purdue's Center for Regional Development who is overseeing the survey, said input from Indianapolis and Fort Wayne residents is critical to helping those communities meet the needs of this growing population segment.
“As longevity has increased, it has proven a challenge to adequately assess and address the ability of communities to provide needed resources for a swelling population of older residents,” said Wilcox, who also is a Purdue extension assistant program leader for economic and community development. “This survey will gather input from those who are currently using those resources or are future users. We are providing a real-world look at what needs these citizens have and how those needs can best be met.”