Indiana's Statewide Approach:
An Interview with Jennifer Bachman
In 2007, the State of Indiana launched a statewide NORC program demonstration initiative to bring the NORC program model to both urban and rural communities in Indiana. The origin of the initiative, called Communities for Life (CFL), can be traced to 2006, when the governor appointed a new director of the State Division of Aging, Steve Smith, who was determined to upend the conventional funding pyramid for elder care, shifting monies from institutional-based to community-based programs for seniors.
Mr. Smith spent a year traveling the state, talking to community leaders and seniors searching for new ways to deliver services to Indiana’s older adults. During this time, he became intrigued with NORC programs in New York and Indianapolis (the latter established with a federal earmark). These programs had been successful in engaging a broad group of stakeholders and getting local residents involved in creating their own support services — matching the director’s vision for community–based care. However, it remained to be seen whether the model could be adapted to address different types of communities and implemented across Indiana. To answer these questions, the Division of Aging created a NORC program demonstration initiative to establish five NORC programs.
In June 2007, Indiana’s Division of Aging contracted with the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community (UIndy CAC, or simply CAC), a group viewed as neutral and unbiased, to oversee the creation and management of the demonstration initiative, which included managing a Request for Application (RFA) process and providing technical assistance. The competitive RFA process resulted in the awarding of planning grants to five project sites.
Concurrently, Indiana was undertaking the statewide implementation of the AdvantAge Initiative, a national survey tool, to identify challenges faced by seniors who choose to age in place in their communities. The AdvantAge Initiative was being conducted through Indiana’s 16 Area Agencies, using federal grant funding and supplemental funding from the Daniels Fund. CAC partnered with AdvantAge Initiative personnel to arrange for oversampling in the five grant-awarded Neighborhood NORC (NNORC) communities. This effort proved to be extremely useful in drilling down to in-depth data, critical for being responsive to the communities the grantees were going to serve.
The five communities used their yearlong planning grants to develop project plans to address an identified “banner issue” within the community. The banner issues were identified through the work of the individual NNORC resident-led steering committees as issues critical to successful aging in place.
The five NNORC communities, including their lead agencies and banner issues, are:
Golden Ages NNORC, Indianapolis
• Lead agency: Martin University
• Banner issue: Home modifications and in-home safety
Huntington NNORC, Huntington
• Lead agency: Huntington County Council on Aging
• Banner issue: Information access for personal safety
Gary Midtown NNORC, Gary
• Lead agency: Gary Community Health Foundation, Inc.
• Banner issue: Neighborhood and personal safety
Shepherd Communities NNORC, Linton
• Lead agency: Generations, the Area Agency on Aging at Vincennes University
• Banner issue: Senior mobility through transportation, home modifications, and physical wellness
La Salle Park NNORC, South Bend
• Lead agency: REAL Services, Inc.
• Banner issue: Information and referral for seniors