NYSOFA releases county data from first-ever statewide Needs Assessment Survey of New Yorkers 60+

May 15—ALBANY — May is Older Americans Month and the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) released county-by-county data from NYSOFA's Community Assessment Survey of Older Adults.

The statewide survey, which received nearly 27,000 responses from New Yorkers age 60 and older, is the first and most comprehensive of its kind in New York State, providing extensive findings on how older adults view themselves and the communities in which they live.

The 62 county-specific reports are available on NYSOFA's website here, offering key insights for local governments, human services organizations, businesses, research organizations, and others interested in understanding the views, experiences, and priorities of older adults in their communities.

The statewide Comprehensive Community Assessment Survey was conducted in the winter and spring of 2023 in partnership with the research firm Polco and the Association on Aging in New York (AgingNY).

NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen said, "The county results we are announcing today include over 100 data points and information on the preferences of nearly 27,000 older adults statewide, as well as their perceptions of themselves, their communities, and the needs of their communities. While the results may be surprising to some, they confirm what many in the aging services field already recognize — older adults broadly consider themselves healthy, active, and engaged in their communities. The local results vary, and they identify several challenges for many older adults who need some assistance or support. NYSOFA and our partners across state and local governments are working to address these needs and challenges at multiple levels."

AgingNY Executive Director Becky Preve said, "The Association on Aging in New York is thrilled to partner with NYSOFA and Polco to release the county comprehensive needs-assessment survey data for older adults in New York. The incredible response from every corner of the state provides robust data elements that will be guiding elements for future policy and funding considerations."

New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario, Esq., said, "The New York State Association of Counties applauds the efforts of the New York State Office for the Aging and the Association on Aging in New York for the incredible county data provided via the Polco survey. Local governments rely on the knowledge of the diversity, the needs, and the opportunities within local communities, and this data will allow policymakers to ensure they are addressing their individual populations. The incredible response rate provides robust data that is invaluable when making policy decisions, and it will be used throughout the state by local elected officials on behalf of older residents."

More Details about the Survey

NYSOFA's aggregate Statewide Community Assessment Survey results were used to inform NYSOFA's Four-Year Plan. The federally required plan is submitted to the Administration on Community Living (ACL) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), outlining how NYSOFA and its network will address federal priorities for older adults. The survey was made available in six languages and conducted through direct mail and online. Some of the findings are below.

Overall Health — 72% of older adults considered their overall health to be "excellent or good." — 82% considered their overall mental health/emotional wellbeing to be "excellent or good."

Overall Community — 78% of older adults called their community an "excellent or good" place to live. — 52% of older adults called their community an "excellent or good" place to retire. — 71% of older adults said they are very "likely/somewhat likely" to remain in their community throughout retirement.

-Nearly 70% of older adults have lived in their community for 20 years or more.


Housing was identified as a priority area of need. To address housing concerns for older adults and New Yorkers of all ages, the Fiscal Year 2025 Enacted State Budget includes a landmark agreement to address the state's housing crisis by building more housing, protecting tenants and homeowners, eliminating price gouging for renters, protecting consumers from evictions, a measure to protect homeowners from deed theft, and combatting housing discrimination in Section 8 and affordable housing providers. Housing is also an important focus area of the state's Master Plan for Aging, which is developing a roadmap of supports for older adults under the direction of Governor Kathy Hochul.

According to the NYSOFA survey: — 39% of older adults indicated some problem finding housing that "suits their needs." — 63% of older adults indicated housing variety was "fair/poor." — 69% of older adults indicated that the availability of affordable quality housing was "fair/poor."

Transportation and Ease of Travel

There was a mix of results on ease of travel, depending on the mode (i.e., public transportation, car, walkability, and more): — In general, 73% of respondents rated their community as "excellent or good" when it comes to the ease of "getting to places they like to visit." — Regarding the "ability to drive," approximately 76% said it was "not a problem," approximately 7% said it was a "minor problem," and approximately 18% said it was a "moderate or major problem."

Engagement and Recreation

Older adults were split in their assessment about engagement and recreation opportunities: — 50% of older adults said recreation opportunities were "excellent or good." — 44% said opportunities to participate in community matters were "excellent or good," and 33% said that opportunities to enroll in skill building or personal enrichment classes were "excellent or good."

Concerns about Daily Activities

For individuals needing assistance to age-in-place, local offices for the aging provide more than 20 core services and supports. The Fiscal Year 2025 Enacted State Budget further invests in these services, including additional funds to help local offices for the aging in their efforts to direct resources toward locally determined, demonstrated service needs. According to NYSOFA's survey: — 34% of older adults said "doing heavy or intense housework" was "not a problem," with 37% saying it was a "moderate or major problem." — When it comes to "maintaining their home," 41% of older adults said this activity was "not a problem," with 31% saying it was a "moderate or major problem."

Availability of Resources

Depending on the specific question, between 43% and 49% of respondents had concerns about the availability of resources like financial/legal planning, daycare for older adults, and availability of quality mental health, all of which are areas being evaluated through New York's Master Plan for Aging process.

Services and Care

Older adults identified some problems with falling or injury in the home, getting needed services and affording medications. To address services and care, the Fiscal Year 2025 Enacted State Budget provides an historic $37 billion Medicaid investment and maintains the state's commitment to supporting the health care safety net and transforming the health care delivery system, while simultaneously making bold investments to expand access to services and support the workforce. The budget also eliminates insulin cost sharing for New Yorkers enrolled on state-regulated insurance plans and protects low-income New Yorkers from medical debt lawsuits by banning hospitals from suing patients earning less than 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (or $120,000 for a family of four), and more. Further efforts to enhance long-term services and supports and community-based options are being evaluated as part of the state's Master Plan for Aging. — 39% of older adults indicated that finding affordable health insurance was a problem. — 37% of older adults indicated getting needed health care was a problem. — 56% of older adults indicated the availability of preventive health services (such as health screens, flu shots, and educational workshops) was "excellent/good."

Social Isolation

Social isolation affects older adults and people of all ages. For older adults facing isolation, NYSOFA has a 50-year track record of services, supports, and interventions, including many nation-leading program innovations. — 84% of older adults said feeling lonely or isolated was either "not a problem" (for 61% of respondents) or a "minor problem" (for 23% of respondents), with similar results for feelings of depression, boredom, or having friends/family to rely upon. — 34% of older adults indicated that opportunities to volunteer were "fair/poor." — 44% of older adults indicated opportunities to participate in community matters were "fair/poor."

Crime and Social Inclusion

While only 16% of older adults said that "being a victim of crime" is a "minor" or "moderate/major" problem, 25% had concerns about "being a victim of fraud/scams."

NYSOFA offers many elder-justice programs and services, including important initiatives to educate the public about scams and fraud. — 26% of older adults had concerns about "being discriminated against due to age." — 46% of older adults felt like their "voice was not heard in the community."


NYSOFA has a multi-tiered caregiver support program and initiatives, including many services that directly help caregivers, such as respite and adult day care programs. NYSOFA has also advanced digital tools to support caregivers through New York State's Caregiver Portal, a Working Caregivers Campaign to help individuals balancing work and caregiving, as well as campaigns to help people self-identify as caregivers. Caregiver supports are being further advanced through the Master Plan for Aging. — 33% of older adults are providing some uncompensated care to someone older than 55. — 15% are doing so for 1-3 hours per week; 9% for 4-10 hours per week; 2% for 11 to 19 hours per week; and 7% for 20 or more hours per week. — Between 23% and 27% of older adults felt physically, emotionally, or financially burdened by the role of uncompensated caregiving.

Hospitalizations and Long Term Care

While the health care services system rightly works to address the needs of individuals requiring intensive services or medical frailty, NYSOFA's Community Assessment Survey of Older Adults reveals that many older adults are healthy, and the vast majority are not directly served by institutional systems of long-term care. — 80% of older adults had not been hospitalized in the past 12 months. — 97% had not needed long-term care in a facility (i.e., nursing home or rehab) during the last 12 months. — 68% did not have injuries from falls in the last 12 months, with 28% experiencing some injury 1 to 2 times, and 4% experiencing some injury 3 or more times.