Using the Elder Index
The Elder Index is used by a wide range of leaders and agencies to help ensure that older Californians have the resources they need to be economically stable.
- California legislators use the Elder Index to craft more effective state and local programs for older adults.
- Public agencies and local governments use the Elder Index to plan programs and allocate resources for today's seniors and aging baby boomers in their local communities.
- Foundations use the Elder Index to identify vulnerable populations, measure the impact of their investments, and expand their grantmaking in the aging field.
- Direct service providers use the Elder Index to help them accurately evaluate senior needs to seek additional funding and increase their capacity.
- Advocates use the Elder Index when communicating with decision makers to more effectively bring about policy change.
- Adults of any age use the Elder Index to make informed decisions about when to retire, how much to save, and whether they need to continue working even after they formally “retire.”
California Policymakers and other legislative partners use the Elder Index to guide legislation at the federal, state, and local levels:
- AB 138 (Elder Economic Planning Act) was signed into law in 2011 and requires state and local aging agencies to use the Elder Index to craft more effective programs and policies for California's aging population. AB 138 was preceded by AB 324 and AB 2114 (Beall, Liu). AB 324 passed the California State Legislature in 2009 but was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger; it was reintroduced in 2010 as AB 2114 and passed the State Assembly.
- State Senator Carol Liu introduced SB 1084, California Economic Security Task Force Act of 2010, which would have established a 2-year bipartisan Task Force to develop a comprehensive set of policy recommendations to improve economic security among Californians, as defined by the Self-Sufficiency Standard and Elder Index.
- At the request of the Senate Budget Committee, the Legislative Analyst's Office used the Elder Index to evaluate benefit levels and proposed cuts to the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) in 2008.
- The Elder Index was cited in AB 2521(2008), Affordable Housing Bill, to demonstrate the high housing costs elders face.
Public Agencies & Local Governments use the Elder Index to plan programs and allocate resources for today's seniors and aging baby boomers in their local communities:
- Sixty percent of the Area Agencies on Aging in California now use the Elder Index in their strategic area plans, in conducting internal and external education about the costs seniors face, and in advocacy efforts to support their programs, according to a recent survey. The local area plans are the focal point of all aging services in a given community.
- The California Association of Area Agencies on Aging has endorsed and publicly testified before the state legislature in favor of the Elder Index bills, AB 2114 and AB 324.
- Area 4 Agency on Aging uses the Elder Index in their Assetsâ€Ability Matrix, a risk measurement tool to identify the relative risk of dependency that is caused by the combination of physical impairment and economic need.
- City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance 88-09 which establishes a pilot program to use the Elder Index for eligibility in a home and community-based long term care program.
- San Diego County Board of Supervisors included the Elder Index in their Legislative Policy Guidelines, demonstrating their support of any state or federal legislation involving Elder Index.
- County of San Diego Health and Human Services included the Elder Index in its San Diego County Senior Health Report, which describes the health of its residents and is used to assess a variety of local programs.
- Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in support of AB 324 and endorsed the Elder Index instead of the Federal Poverty Guidelines as a better means to measure economic need.
- City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, County of Los Angeles Community and Senior Services, Alameda County Social Services Department of Adult and Aging Services, and County of San Diego Department of Aging and Independence Services have all invested funding in the Elder Index and related data.
Foundations are increasingly recognizing that realistic and accurate measures of economic need, such as the Self-Sufficiency Standard and Elder Index, are effective ways to assess the impact of their grant making:
- California Community Foundation encourages its grantees to use the Elder Index in their programming and fund development.
- Gary and Mary West Foundation is using the Elder Index to define vulnerable seniors in their aging grant making portfolio.
- United Way of the Bay Area uses the Self-Sufficiency Standard and Elder Index to measure the impact of their grant making.
- The California Wellness Foundation, The California Endowment, California Community Foundation, National Council on Aging, United Way of the Bay Area, Y & H Soda Foundation, The Health Trust, and UC-Program on Access to Care have all invested in the Elder Index and the California Elder Economic Security Initiative.
Direct Service Providers use the Elder Index to help them design, evaluate, and expand programs:
- ElderHelp of San Diego uses the Elder Index to determine sliding scale membership costs for their “Concierge Club”, a program providing home care assistance.
- National Council on Aging Economic Security Initiatives benchmark older adults’ progress toward the goal of economic stability using the Elder Index.
- Senior Community Centers in San Diego use the Elder Index to quantify to investors how much their affordable housing and nutrition programs bring seniors closer to economic security.
- Aging Services Collaborative in Santa Clara County uses the Elder Index in their policy agenda to increase the number of affordable housing units in the county.
Advocates use the Elder Index to more effectively make the case for policy change:
- Western Center on Law and Poverty, California Association of Food Banks, Alameda County Senior Services Coalition, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles and others use the Elder Index to fight budget cuts to senior services.
- California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) advocates for the state to adopt the Elder Index through legislation (e.g. AB 324 and AB 2114).
- The Oakland Institute advocates using the Elder Index to more accurately identify older populations in need.
- St. Mary’s Center advocates that the state and federal government adopt the Elder Index instead of the Federal Poverty Guidelines in determining eligibility for public programs.
Public Awareness organizations throughout California use the Elder Index to spotlight a population often hidden from public view - seniors with incomes above the official poverty level but below what they need to make ends meet.
Click here to see a full list of media coverage; see below for a partial list of other references: