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Older Adults

 

91,108 Individuals Over 65 in Travis County in 2013

 

The older adult population in Travis County: Travis County is home to a large and growing population of older adults. In 2013, 91,108 individuals over the age of 65 resided in Travis County, making up about 8% of the total population. Since 2009, the over 65 population in Travis County has grown by 29%, and, according to the Brookings Institution, the Metro Area was home to the nation’s fastest-growing pre-senior population between 2000 and 2010. As the population has grown, it has diversified as well, necessitating the provision of culturally and linguistically proficient services. Individuals over 65 experience numerous challenges, including deteriorating health; loneliness, isolation, mental health, and substance use issues. Many older adults prefer to remain in their own home or to live with a family member as they age. Providing in home-services and supports to caregivers who aid older adults with daily tasks has been highlighted by the Aging Services Council of Central Texas as a priority for the Austin area.

 

Although a lower percentage of Travis County’s population is over the age of 65 than the state and nation, the senior population’s share of the total population has increased steadily since 2005. In 2013, there were 91,108 individuals over the age of 65 living in Travis County, or 8.1% of the total population. Seniors made up 11.2% of the Texas population and 14.1% of the United States population.

Graph showing the percentage of the population over the age of 65 in Travis County

Definition: Percent of the population who are 65 or over

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table B01001: Sex by Age

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

key issues that affect older adults

At their 2014 meetings, the CAN Community Council heard presentations by local collaborations and service providers , including the Aging Services Council of Central Texas, the Austin Mayor’s Task Force on Aging, and St. David’s Foundation, a key funder of services for older adults. Community Council members discussed the needs and challenges of elderly individuals in our area. Top barriers and challenges identified at these meetings included:

  • The rapidly growing aging population is becoming more diverse and poor.
     
  • Family caregivers face physical, emotional, and work issues.
     
  • Many aging people prefer to remain in their homes or to move in with a family member.
     
  • Deteriorating health; loneliness, isolation, mental health, and substance use issues.
     

some local efforts to improve the well-being of older adults

  • The Aging Services Council of Central Texas is a “network of individuals and organizations who work together to ensure that older adults and caregivers have the information and services they need to support themselves and family members as they age.” ASC members work in the areas of health and wellness, aging in place, and caregiver support. Collaborative initiatives include: the Neighborhood Ambassador Program, professional development, caregiver outreach, a Caregiver Resource Guide, advance care planning, transportation access, and cultural competency. A list of services provided by member organizations is available here.
     
  • The Austin Mayor’s Task Force on Aging was charged with “building public awareness, analyzing the current resources and opportunities for growth, and creating a set of strategic recommendations to accommodate Central Texas’ fast-growing senior population.” In 2013, the Task Force released the report Embracing an Age Diverse Austin that provided recommendations for improving the well-bring of Austin’s elderly population. In order to ensure that the City of Austin continues to account for the needs of older adults, the Task Force recommended creating a city commission for seniors.
     
  • St. David’s Foundation invests in the health and wellness of the community through grants to local agencies. Through their Healthy Aging focus area, the Foundation invests in initiatives that improve ”health-related and health care services for low-income older adults in Central Texas.”
     
  • The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area is in the process of developing an Aging Disability Resource Center that will provide a one-stop, “no wrong door” information and referral service for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. The Resource Center, operated by the Capital Area Council of Governments, will be part of a larger State of Texas referral systems network.
     

system changes recommended to improve the well-being of older adults

Following are recommendations that arose from the CAN Community Council panel discussion on this issue:

  • Make it easier for older adults to age in place by increasing services such as home repairs, transportation services, affordable in-home care.
     
  • Provide training for caregivers and supports such as adult day care and respite services.
     
  • Cultural and linguistic proficiency are increasingly important as the population grows and diversifies.
     
  • Telemedicine can bring providers into the homes of aging patients whose mobility is limited.
     
  • Develop a Care Transition Coalition – to prevent avoidable ER visits.
     
  • Increase senior centers in low-income areas.
     
  • Invest in low-income housing for seniors.
     
  • Find ways to deliver groceries at reasonable prices to people living in food deserts.
     
  • Continue to support the efforts of the Regional Transit Coordinating Committee, Capital Metro’s Office of Mobility Management, and the Basic Needs Transportation Fund.
     
  • Make sure government policies are age-inclusive.
     
  • Expedite the permitting process for secondary apartments, especially when adding an apartment for an aging family member.
     

the face of the older adult population in travis county

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» pre-senior population

 
According to the Brookings Institution, the Austin Metro Area had the fastest growing ‘pre-senior’ population in the nation between 2000 and 2010. Although individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 make up a smaller share of the total population locally than in the state and nation as a whole, their share has grown in recent years. In 2005, people between the ages of 55 and 64 made up 8% of the total population and grew to 10.1% in 2013. In 2013, there were 113,500 people between 55 and 64 living in Travis County, outnumbering the 65 and over population by over 20,000.

Graph showing Percent of the total population between the ages of 55 and 64

Definition: Percent of the total population between the ages of 55 and 64

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table B01001: Sex by Age

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

» race/ethnicity of the over 65 population

The over 65 population does not mirror the diversity of the overall population in Travis County. Although African-Americans make up equal shares of the overall and over 65 populations, individuals identifying as White make up a substantially larger share of the over 65 population than the overall population. The Hispanic share of the over 65 population is almost exactly half of the share of the overall population. Individuals identifying as Asian make up a slightly smaller share (4%) of the over 65 population than the overall population (6%).

Graphs showing the age structure for veterans and non-veterans in Travis County

Definition: Percent of the 65 and over and total population identifying as each race/ethnicity

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table S0201: Selected Population Profile in the United States, Total from Table B01001: Sex by Age; Hispanic or Latino from Table B01001I: Sex by Age (Hispanic or Latino)

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data. The ‘Other’ Population includes anyone who does not identify as one of the listed racial/ethnic categories.

» percent residing in nursing/skilled-nursing facilities

In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 2,014 Travis County seniors resided in nursing or skilled nursing facilities, or 2.7% of the total over 65 population. This represents a slightly lower percent than in the United States (3.1%) or Texas (3.0%) as a whole. Since 2000, the percent of residents 65 and older who reside in skilled nursing facilities appears to have decreased in all jurisdictions shown.

The percent of individuals over the age of 65 who live in nursing facilities/skilled nursing facilities

 

Definition: The percent of individuals over the age of 65 who live in nursing facilities/skilled nursing facilities

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Decennial Census, SF1 100% Data, Table PCO5: Group Quarters Population in Nursing Facilities/Skilled-Nursing Facilities by Sex by Age and 2000 Decennial Census: SF1 100% Data, Table PCT017: Group Quarters Population By Sex By Age By Group Quarters Type; Total Population from Table: QT-P1: Age Groups and Sex: 2010

Data Considerations: According to the Census Bureau, “nursing facilities/ skilled nursing facilities include facilities licensed to provide medical care with 7-day, 24-hour coverage for people requiring long-term non-acute care.” In 2000, the Census used the term ‘nursing homes’ rather than ‘nursing facilities/skilled nursing facilities’.

» confirmed cases of abuse/neglect

In 2013, Adult Protective Services confirmed 2,132 cases of abuse/neglect of individuals with a disability or over the age of 65 in the 5-county Austin Metro Area, or about 8 cases per 1,000 people over 65 or age 18 to 64 with a disability. APS confirmed 1,377 cases of abuse/neglect in Travis County in 2013.

Graph showing The number of confirmed Adult Protective Services investigations of abuse or neglect per 1,000 adults with a Disability Ages 18-64 or Individuals Age 65+ from the years 2005 - 2013

 

 

Definition: The number of confirmed Adult Protective Services investigations of abuse or neglect per 1,000 adults with a Disability Ages 18-64 or Individuals Age 65+

Data Source: CAN calculation of data from Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Annual Data Book

Data Considerations: Texas DFPS does not provide a breakdown of confirmed cases of abuse/neglect for the senior population alone. Therefore, this figure includes individuals with a disability who are under the age of 65.

» percent with a disability

Older adults are significantly more likely to live with a disability than people under the age of 65 .In 2013, 39% of people 65 and older had a disability, compared to only 8% of people under 65.In fact, people over 65 made up 28% of all people with disabilities despite only making up about 8% of the overall population in Travis County.

Percent of population with a disability by age

 

 

Definition: Percent of population with a disability by age

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table B18101: Sex by Age by Disability Status

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

how this population fares on Dashboard indicators

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» low-income

People over the age of 65 are less likely to have incomes below 200% of federal poverty thresholds than younger people. Much of the reduction in poverty is due to the impact of Social Security (for example, see work by the National Bureau of Economic Research). However, it is important to consider that many older adults live on fixed incomes, utilizing Social Security benefits and savings to pay expenses. According to the National Council on Aging, Social Security accounts for all or most of monthly income for 75% of recipients. Furthermore, older adults may face different expenses than individuals under the age of 65.

Graph showing the percentage of individuals 65 and over, and under 65, with incomes below the 200% of federal poverty thresholds.

 

 

Definition: The percentage of individuals 65 and over, and under 65, with incomes below the 200% of federal poverty thresholds. 2013 thresholds can be accessed here

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table B17001: Poverty Status in the United States, by Sex by Age

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

» employment to population ratio

Older adults are much less likely to work than people between the ages of 16 and 64. Only 20% of people over 65 were employed in 2013, compared to 74% of people between 16 and 64. The unemployment rate (those looking for , but unable to find, employment) for the 65 and over population In Travis County was 2.7% in 2013, compared to 5.9% for people under 65. Older adults, therefore, largely do not receive wages through the labor market and must rely on other sources, including Social Security and retirement savings, to cover their expenses. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only about a quarter of older adults’ income comes from earnings, with the largest portion, about 40%, coming from Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance).

The percent of the population who are employed by age group

 

 

Definition: The percent of the population who are employed by age group

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table B23001: Sex by Age by Unemployment Status for the Population 16 Years and Over

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

» educational attainment

The educational attainment of the over 65 population resembles the educational attainment of the 18 to 64 population relatively closely. Older adults are slightly more likely than non-senior adults to have a high school education or less. They are also slightly less likely to possess an associate’s degree or some college.

Percent of the given population group that has attained the given educational level

 

Definition: Percent of the given population group that has attained the given educational level

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table B15001: Sex by Age by Educational Attainment for the Population 18 Years and Over

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

» uninsured

People ages 65 and over are much less likely to lack health insurance coverage than people under 65. In 2013, about 2% of the 65 and over population in Travis County, or 1,484 people, lacked health insurance coverage. In the same year, about 20% of the population under 65, or 200,777 people, lacked health insurance coverage.

The percent of the population 65 and over with no private or public health insurance coverage

 

Definition: The percent of the population 65 and over with no private or public health insurance coverage

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table B27001: Health Insurance Coverage Status by Age for the Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population (2008 estimates) and Table S2701: Health Insurance Coverage Status (all other years)

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data. Estimates for local jurisdictions are considered unreliable and should be used with caution.