All Together Now: Integrating Health and Community Supports for Older Adults

Shannah Koss, Koss on Care
Beth Almeida, AIR

With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 each day, policy makers are facing the following critical questions about how to meet the requirements of an aging society: (1) How are needs changing? (2) What programs will best meet these emerging needs? (3) How should these programs be financed?

Three key trends will inform these policy decisions. First, research tells us that Americans prefer to “age in place,” meaning that they want to stay connected with their support networks and find resources in the local communities of their choice. This preference is strong and growing. Second, projections indicate that up to two-thirds of older Americans will likely need some form of extended long-term care. And third, because of trends in geographic mobility, these individuals will have fewer family supports nearby to help meet their care needs. Together, these trends suggest the need to re-examine current support programs and services to ensure that they will meet the coming needs of older Americans.

This brief is the first in a two-part series about policies and programs that provide resources and services for aging in place. It reviews evidence indicating that public programs, as currently structured, are underfunded and fragmented, and it examines the evolving policy and funding landscape. It also documents promising changes in the delivery and integration of supportive services in public programs and makes recommendations to advance policies for aging in place. The second brief, Community-Based Models for Aging in Place, explores community-based grassroots initiatives, assessing how they support individuals’ goals to age in place and identifying public policies and programs that could sustain and expand similar initiatives.