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How do older Americans rate support services they receive?

Conducting the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (NSOAAP)

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has a mission to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults, people with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers. Under the Older Americans Act (OAA), programs provide a number of services to clients, including transportation, congregate and home-delivered meals, case management, homemaker services, and family caregiver support.

What is the outcome of these services provided? What is their impact? What are the data on client-reported service quality? To help answer these questions, Westat has administered the annual National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (NSOAAP) since 2003.

Westat works with the ACL to

  • Improve the NSOAAP instrument and implementation
  • Perform ad hoc analyses
  • Develop an annual rotating module of items for inclusion

For this latest NSOAAP iteration, Westat will be migrating from telephone-only data collection to a new sequential multimode data collection design to increase response rates, data quality, and client representativeness while lowering costs. Other updates and innovations include streamlining the NSOAAP surveys to minimize burden on respondents while capturing critical data on program performance and fresh ideas for ad hoc data analyses, including qualitative approaches.

Westat’s other main NSOAAP activities include

  • Assisting ACL to monitor the performance and overall quality of OAA services delivered to older individuals and family caregivers
  • Sampling Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and their clients and conducting the surveys, yielding 6,000 web, paper, and computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI)
  • Providing cross-sectional estimates for Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-approved performance measures for ACL’s budget requests to Congress
  • Collecting, cleaning, preparing, and weighting the survey data (weighting for national representation) for public use

Information from these surveys is delivered in public-use datasets, weighted means and frequency tables, and annual reports.

This information helps ACL understand clients’ conditions and demographics, design program enhancements, and evaluate the need for future services to improve the independence, well-being, and health of older Americans.

Learn more: NSOAAP website

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