Indiana University

Community Planning Model


In 2007, Indiana undertook a three-year federally funded demonstration project to test the use of the AdvantAge Initiative (AI) planning model on a statewide basis - the first statewide effort in the U.S. The AI model was originally developed in the years 2000-2003, through the auspices of the Center for Home Care Policy and Research, Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

The AI model combines participatory public processes with valid statistical data drawn from a random sampling telephone survey organized around 33 indicators of an elder-friendly community.

Indicators of "elder-friendliness" were derived from a series of focus groups conducted in Chicago, Raleigh, Allentown and Long Beach. Participants in the focus groups ranged in age from 45-85 and identified four basic domains of an elder-friendly community:

  • an elder-friendly community addresses basic needs
  • an elder-friendly community promotes independence and well being for those with frailty or disability
  • an elder-friendly community promotes physical and mental health and well being
  • an elder-friendly community promotes social and civic engagement

domains of an elder-friendly community


Each domain is further delineated, resulting in the 33 indicators and serving as a metric that communities can use that provides comparison data with every other community or region that employs the same survey and method.

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 In 2004 a national sampling survey was conducted, providing yet another scale against which community results can be compared.

The Indiana survey of 5,000 Hoosiers aged 60 and over was completed in 2008, and provided the entire state, each of 16 areas (served by the Area Agencies on Aging) and 5 smaller neighborhoods (naturally occurring retirement communities) with a wealth of data about the older population that is currently being utilized to:

  •  Build community awareness of needs and contributions of older Hoosiers
  •  Engage a broad cross-section of communities in planning for the future
  •  Identify priorities for action
  •  Evaluate progress around action steps taken

As communities, areas, and the state incorporate survey results into their planning processes, project staff are developing and publishing educational modules organized around the indicators to enable citizen groups to move quickly as they develop and market new programs, services, and foster cultural change.

The AgingIndiana website serves as a public repository for survey results and other demographic reports being developed by the staff of the Center on Aging and Community. As the website grows through its blog and other interactive features, it will serve as a catalyst for effective planning for our aging future in Indiana and elsewhere.

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