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Action for an Aging Nation
October 5, 2018
The over-60 population in America is growing at the fastest pace ever in our nation’s history. Every day, 10,000 baby boomers turn age 65. That means that by 2030, 73 million — or one in five — people in America will be age 65 or older.
This historic change in American demographics can already be seen in some parts of the country, especially rural areas where available services are unable to keep pace with the growing need. Advocates at all levels, and government leaders, must understand the massive demographic shift that is coming our way, as it will affect all aspects of our culture.
In my opinion, public policy, funding, and initiatives that affect older adults, caregivers, and their access to services should reflect the following principles:
- People want to age safely in their homes and communities. Home is where the heart is. Most seniors’ homes have seen many holidays and countless family dinners. The memories within are irreplaceable. Seniors should have the right to choose where they age, and for many seniors, where they choose is their home in their community. Public policies must increase availability of and access to services that support cost-effective aging options that most people want.
- Community infrastructure is a critical component of healthy aging. Cost-effective, community-based solutions must be found or else the coming demographic shifts will strain government and individual finances. Affordable housing for seniors, integrated with services people need, should be viewed as an important health care intervention. People can be cared for at home more cheaply than in an institution. One key to sustainability will be new service models that are innovative, efficient, and whose quality can be measured.
The bottom line is that public policies and funding should help older adults live safely at home; eat well and stay healthy; avoid unnecessary, more costly, institutional care; and live with dignity.
By Pam Dukes, Executive DirectorBack to All News & Blog