Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Quality of Life for America's Aging Population

In May 2016 the non-profit Bipartisan Policy Center's  Senior Health and Housing Task Force published a report to address concerns about the well-being and safety of millions of older Americans who will represent 20% of the overall population by 2030. Problems identified by the report include:

  • The current supply of housing that is affordable to the nation ’s lowest-income seniors is woefully inadequate. As more low-income Americans enter the senior ranks, this supply shortage — currently measured in millions of units — will become even more acute.
  •  The overwhelming majority of seniors say they wish to “age in place” in their own homes and communities. Y et most homes and communities lack the structural features and support services that can make living there independently a safe, realistic option. 
  • About 70 percent of adults over 65 will eventually require help with bathing , food preparation, dressing, and medication management— assistance that is referred to as “long-term services and supports,” or LTSS. Medicare does not cover LTSS, though the costs of this care can consume a large portion of a household’s budget. In addition, only a small minority of Americans has long-term care insurance covering these expenses. 
  • Personal savings are a critical source of retirement funding, but for millions of seniors these savings will fall far short of what is necessary to pay for housing, modifications to make homes safer, LTSS, health care, and other retirement needs.
One of the report's key premises is "a greater integration of America’s health care and housing systems will be absolutely essential to help manage chronic disease, improve health outcomes for seniors, and enable millions of Americans to age successfully in their own homes and communities."

See the background, discussion and recommendations of Healthy Aging Begins at Home available as a PDF.