Who We Serve

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Council on Aging (COA) is one of the largest non-profit organizations in our region, annually administering and delivering more than $90 million in long-term care services and supports to a growing population of frail older adults and people with disabilities.

We are part of the national aging services network, serving as the state-designated Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for southwestern Ohio. As an AAA, Council on Aging is the central planning and coordinating authority for services to older adults in Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties. 

In addition, COA serves people of all ages with disabilities via a state program in a 21-county region of western Ohio. 

Our mission: Enhance people's lives by assisting them to remain independent at home through a range of quality services.


Southwestern Ohio's Area Agency on Aging

As an Area Agency on Aging, COA is part of the national aging services network. The Older Americans Act of 1965 established this network and created what is now called the Administration for Community Living (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). 

The aging services network is divided into state units and regional Planning and Service Areas.  Ohio`s state unit is the Ohio Department of Aging which represents two million Ohioans age 60 and older. 

States are divided into Planning and Service areas, each with its own Area Agency on Aging(AAA). There are 660 AAAs nationwide. AAAs work with the public and private sectors to shape how communities serve their older - often vulnerable - citizens. 


A growing need

Every aspect of American life is being affected by the aging of our population. More people are living longer and the birth rate is declining.

The greatest effects are still to come now that the nation`s 78 million Boomers have begun turning 60. The number of Americans over age 65 is expected to double to 71 million by 2030. By 2015, for the first time in history, people age 65 and older will outnumber children under age five. The U.S. Social Security Administration estimates 10,000 Americans will apply for benefits every day for the next 20 years.

What are the implications of this so-called silver tsunami? Clearly, it will place unprecedented pressures on our economy, our health care system, transportation, housing, social services, emergency planning, and long-term care resources. Most directly, it will affect families who are being called upon in ever-increasing numbers to care for their elderly loved ones.

Consider:

The 2010 census counted 230,429 Ohioans age 85 and older-a 30 percent increase in 10 yearsOhio has 1.62 million people age 65+ - about 14 percent of the population. Every month, another 15,000 Ohioans turn 60. By 2020, the 60+ population is expected to grow by 28 percent to more than 2.8 million

A growing number of people with disabilities-including the frail elderly - are in need of long-term care. An estimated 308,000 Ohioans need someone to help them activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing or getting out of bed. In 2007, nearly half of them received that help through publicly-funded programs. 

Ohio spends about $4.7 billion a year in Medicaid funds for long-term care; accounting for about 42 percent of the state`s total Medicaid spending.

Frail, poor Ohioans are more likely to be in nursing homes than their peers in other states. But this is gradually changing. Because of the growth of in-home care alternatives, the number of Ohioans age 60+ in Medicaid-funded nursing homes has dropped by 14.5 percent over the past 12 years, despite a 15 percent increase in the older population.

Caregiving and workforce organizations speak of an "emerging care gap" in which the demand for paid direct care workers, such as home health aides, will outstrip supply.

However, unpaid (usually family) caregivers provide 80 percent of home care services. According to a 2007 study by AARP, "their contributions to loved ones and friends are not only the foundation of the nation`s long-term care system, but an important component of the U.S. economy, with an estimated economic value of about $350 billion in 2006."


Ohio's aging population

Southwestern Ohio is undergoing a dramatic age transformation.
In three of the five counties served by Council on Aging (Clermont, Clinton and Hamilton), as many as one out of every four people will be age 60 or older by 2020. The ratio will be about one in five in the other two counties (Butler and Warren).

Within this older population group, the fastest growing segment is comprised of people age 85 and older. These are the seniors most likely to need more complex (and costly) health care in addition to help with basic activities of daily living. Families, communities, taxpayers and, of course, seniors themselves face tremendous challenges
and opportunities.

Percent of population age 60 and older in southwestern Ohio: 2010 compared to population estimates for 2020. Source: Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University
SWO 2010 aging population  SWO 2020 aging population
2010 2020

Ohio ranks sixth in the nation in the percentage of its residents who are age 60 and older (more than 17 percent, or about two million people). 

Within the next few years, the population bulge that is the boomer generation will begin to swell these numbers enormously. Predictions show serious strain on our economy and health care system. As the population ages, increasing numbers of people will outlive their health and their financial resources. Miami University`s Scripps Gerontology Center estimates the number of older Ohioans with severe disabilities will increase by 28 percent to 220,000 people within the next 12 years. (Severe disability is defined as impairment in two or more activities of daily living, such as bathing and eating.)

By 2020 in southwestern Ohio:

  • Almost 14,000 individuals age 60+ with a severe disability will reside in Hamilton County
  • Over 6,000 individuals age 60+ with a severe disability will reside in Butler County
  • Almost 4,000 individuals age 60+ with a severe disability will reside in Warren County
  • Over 800 individuals age 60+ with a severe disability will reside in Clinton County
  • Nearly 4,000 individuals age 60+ with a severe disability will reside in Clermont County 

These people will need long-term care. On this, Ohio has a long way to go. Ohio`s Medicaid cost for long-term care is among the highest in the country, primarily because of a long-standing bias toward delivering care in nursing facilities, rather than providing low-income seniors the option for less costly home care, which most would prefer anyway.

Ohio`s 12 Area Agencies on Aging - including Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio - are working to prepare for the coming age wave by offering the public unbiased information, lower cost alternatives for care, effective care management, and expertise on the needs of older adults and people of all ages with disabilities.

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