In a letter, Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, stated that the nation isn't prepared for the aging population that's coming.
With people over the age of 65 anticipated to make up 21% of the nation's population by 2030, the healthcare industry is beginning to prepare for the influx.
In a letter to the Biden administration, Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, urged the development of an Office on Aging Policy, which would provide "centralized leadership and cross-government coordination to address the needs of and ensure resources are delivered to older adults and families."
"We are not prepared for the demographic change that is fast approaching. The federal government's focus on aging has developed from bottom up, without designated leadership," Sloan said in the letter. "The result of this scattered approach is severely inadequate support for older adults in our country, which impacts quality of life and takes extraordinary tolls on communities and families—particularly those of color."
The brief accompanying the letter details the concerns and challenges for older adults, their families, and caregivers, which includes the need for long-term care (LTC), as well as these other areas:
- Preventing poverty and ensuring retirement income
- Shifting patterns of employment, access to jobs for older people who work, and retirement
- Ensuring equitable access to adequate housing
- Services and housing
- Food security
- Elimination barriers to transportation
- Protecting seniors against abuse, including financial scams
- Environmental threats may harm older people first
- Inequity for older people, particularly those of color
- Incomplete data to support policymaking
LTC facility leaders should consider how they can get involved to address the needs of the growing aging population.
Within the federal government, the individuals responsible for polices related to these concerns are spread throughout more than 25 agencies. While some aging policies within those agencies are robust, Sloan noted, there are also policy redundancies, gaps, and an inconsistent distribution of resources.
"It is time for our leaders to step up and take action … by intentionally coordinating the government's focus on aging," Sloan said. "The Biden Administration has the opportunity to both drive change and demonstrate its commitment to the value of a growing population of Americans."
“We are not prepared for the demographic change that is fast approaching. The federal government's focus on aging has developed from bottom up, without designated leadership.”
Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge
Sloan is urging the Biden Administration to create an Office on Aging Policy to provide centralized leadership and coordination efforts in anticipation of the influx of older adults into the healthcare infrastructure.
The brief accompanying the letter details concerns and challenges older adults may face, including ensuring access to housing, food security, and inequities concerning people of color.