A majority of Columbus seniors -- allbeit a slim 51 percent of those who responded to a recent survey -- said they believe they can find new living arrangements should the situation arise.

A majority of Columbus seniors -- allbeit a slim 51 percent of those who responded to a recent survey -- said they believe they can find new living arrangements should the situation arise.

Yet if those conditions involved health or mobility issues a substantive number -- 45 percent, of respondents -- said they believe they would not be able to pay for the accommodations.

Those are just two of the preliminary findings from a survey conducted by Age-Friendly Columbus, a nonprofit organization looking at senior issues across the city.

Katie White is project manager for Age-Friendly Columbus, which is being directed by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

White said the survey results are still somewhat hazy because of the broad representation of ages of those who completed the questionnaire.

The survey reflects the responses of more than 1,300 valid participants ages 50 and older who mailed in their responses or answered the survey in person or online.

"We know there are different tracks for implementation -- those who need and qualify for services now and those who will be coming into that age group next, so we can plan appropriately for the next cohort of older adults," White said.

Age-Friendly Columbus, part of a national effort, is charged with ensuring that individuals of all ages and abilities can remain in their neighborhoods and live a high quality of life independently, according to the organization's website.

"We want to make sure Columbus is a great place to be old and grow old," White said.

The group, formed early last year, is laying out a five-year strategy.

Other issues facing Columbus seniors include transportation, safety, community support and health services. The group expects central Ohio's population of those 65 years or older to double during the next 35 years.

White said Age-Friendly Columbus officials plan to issue a full report Feb. 1.

The group is supported by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging, Franklin County Office on Aging, the Columbus Foundation, AARP Ohio, the Ohio State University College of Social Work and National Church Residences.

Columbus City Councilman Michael Stinziano said officials must stress the importance of financial planning for retirement, something that not only will affect individuals but also the community as a whole.

"I think that's what everyone's hearing about: people don't plan accordingly," Stinziano said.

"I think it's inevitable at some point they're going to face their challenges."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary