The federal government provides a wide variety of services to older Americans, particularly those who have low incomes, are members of minority groups, or live in rural areas. The government’s Administration for Community Living (ACL) oversees those services.
Since 2003, Westat has done surveys almost every year of how well those services are meeting the needs of older people and whether the services are being targeted to the people most in need.
- For the eighth survey, we selected 250 state and local agencies, nonprofit groups, and others to conduct phone interviews of 6,000 older people who receive the services, including transportation, meals, case management, and caregiver support.
- We worked with experts in aging, including from ACL and universities, to develop the detailed questionnaire.
- The survey looked at service quality and consumer satisfaction. Questions ask, for example, whether the programs are helping you to get to the doctor more often or eat more nutritious meals. The survey also assessed participants’ special needs related to physical or emotional well-being.
- The results showed that programs are targeting their services to the elderly most in need, including people who are poor and have difficulty with such basic life activities as bathing, dressing, and getting to the doctor.
- ACL uses the results to support its planning and budgeting activities and improve the quality of its programs.