Cleveland's Older Adults Assessment - 2015

Assessment Key Findings

The action plan for Age-friendly Cleveland was built on the key findings from the Age-friendly Cleveland Assessment, which was conducted in 2015.

  • Out of 1,000+ older adults interviewed, there were 867 valid responses to the questionnaire, 333 valid Senior Day surveys, and 283 responses to the comprehensive representative survey. A total of 355 older adults participated in 22 focus groups.
  • Feedback represents resident's impressions of Cleveland age-friendly features.  Some services/assets may exist that older adults are unaware of don't use. 
  • Almost half surveyed rated the city as an excellent or good place to live as they age.
  • Most are satisfied with health services and report good health. Low-income adults were more likely to report poor or fair health than upper-income individuals.
  • About 22% of Cleveland residents 60+ live in poverty, and 17% live near poverty (100 to 150% of the poverty threshold).
  • Forty percent of residents 65+ live alone. More older Clevelanders expect to “age in place” than seniors nationally. But there is a lack of awareness about home providers and services that may be required. Many homes need modifications, particularly as 47% have disability. Over 50%  of older adult renters and almost 40% of owners live in housing considered unaffordable.
  • Overall, 56% of Cleveland older adults reported if they had to move due to health or mobility issues, they were unsure they could find a facility to meet their needs.
  • Most Cleveland older adults report having no or few difficulties getting around, and find transportation accessible and affordable. Impressions of public transportation were positive by regular RTA users.
  • Poor sidewalks were cited as safety risks. Snow and ice add to this danger, and many observed that some sidewalks are not adequately cleared.
  • Safety concerns are prevalent. Neighborhood and community safety is an important concern. Abandoned homes and violent crime create barriers to walking and feeling connected.
  • Older adults have many preferences on receiving community program/service information, and communicating with others. The majority reported being able to find information on needed services; however, most are unaware of centralized service information, such as the 2-1-1 help center.
  • Most have and use the Internet, although the more vulnerable (i.e. those 75+ and those with low incomes) are less likely to.
  • Focus group participants widely shared they were not familiar with, or don't have access to, mental health services.
  • Cleveland older adults are less likely to be employed than Cuyahoga County and Northeast Ohio counterparts. Many believe jobs are not available to the same extent as they are for younger people. Health issues and age discrimination in hiring are noted employment challenges. Over 80% identified financial reasons as the motivator for work. Some fear higher income may reduce benefits (i.e. housing subsidies, food stamps).
  • Nearly half feel connected to the community; 23% volunteer regularly and 41% volunteer occasionally.
  • Many in focus groups don't feel respected, particularly by the young. Places of worship were a notable exception.
  • Even with 150+ parks, 48% said they are not in walking distance to well-maintained and safe parks; 44% do have  access. Cleveland's park system is identified by many as an asset.
  • Nearly three-fourths reported having access to places to get healthy and affordable food.
  • Key findings were used as a starting point for constructing strategies to improve age-friendliness.

The key findings were used as the starting point for constructing strategies to improve the age- friendliness of the city.

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