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AARP Indiana, Purdue conduct survey in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne to assess community age-friendliness

An online survey designed to provide information to improve the quality of life for older citizens in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne kicks off on Thursday (Nov. 1).

Indy

AARP Indiana is working with Purdue University's Center for Regional Development to assess the age-friendliness of Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, communities with an aging population that is expected to grow over the next two decades. The Livable Communities Survey, which is available online through Dec. 15, will determine attitudes and opinions of those 45 and older on a variety of topics, such as housing, outdoor spaces, transportation and streets, health and wellness, social participation, educational opportunities, volunteering and civic engagement, and job opportunities.

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The survey is part of AARP's Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities initiative, which encourages areas to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population through awareness of the environmental, economic and social factors that influence older adults' health and well-being.

"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."

The American Community Survey in 2016 estimated that those 45 and older made up almost 36 percent of the Indianapolis population and more than

37 percent of Fort Wayne's population. By 2040 those numbers are expected to increase by about 18 percent in Marion County and nearly 24 percent in Allen County.

Michael Wilcox, the senior associate at Purdue's Center for Regional Development who is overseeing the survey, said input from Indianapolis and Fort Wayne

"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."

Indianapolis residents can complete the survey by going to https://bit.ly/2Q89GHF or https://purdue.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cvyP5XRKL408c6h.

Fort Wayne residents can complete the survey online at https://bit.ly/2qjlRpK or https://purdue.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9zNP4IccaOxtmwR.

A ll responses are completely anonymous, and no information will be collected that could identify any individual.

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