Using the Elder Index, Alamo AAA Tracked the True Cost of Rural Living for Older Adults

When n4a member Alamo AAA started to develop its bi-annual area report, staff turned to the Elder Index, an online tool used to calculate the true cost of living for older adults. By using the Elder Index, the AAA found that living in a rural setting doesn't mean the cost of living for older adults is necessarily more affordable. The data helped the AAA update its Area Plans to help identify areas in need of additional support and better prepare to meet the needs of its community.

The Elder Index was developed by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The Index is a measure that describes how much income is needed for older adults to maintain independence and meet their daily living costs while staying in their own homes. n4a has long been a champion of the Elder Index, and encourages AAAs and other Aging Network organizations to use it for planning and advocacy.
The online Elder Index allows visitors to calculate the cost of living for older adults in every U.S. county and state. In 2019, researchers found that half of older Americans living on their own lacked the income needed to pay for their basic needs, as did 23 percent of couples.



USAging Fact: Learn about your peers’ work—and how it can fit into your agency’s goals! The AIA Awards recognizes successful and innovative programs that USAging members have developed to serve older adults. Get inspiration from our 2023 winners!