The Health of Aging Populations

Most Americans want to live independently and remain in their own homes and chosen communities as they grow older.  The US needs more thoughtful, intentional policies that empower older Americans to age in home and community environments that promote health and independence while ensuring safety.

States play a critical role in shaping the system of care for older adults as: a payer of home and community-based services through Medicaid; an administrator of federal funding; a coordinator of Area Agencies on Aging; a regulator of care settings and services; and a funder and provider of nonmedical services that affect health like transportation. The Milbank Memorial Fund’s work on the health of aging populations is currently focused on two key topics that states have identified as major opportunities:

Housing. The unavailability and inadequacy of affordable housing is a significant barrier to home and community-based care, and many states lack a true housing continuum that provides a range of different options to older adults.

Workforce. As the long-term care system grows to meet demand, states will need to build a robust and qualified home and community-based services workforce. States will need to understand where workforce shortages exist, as well as design training, licensing, compensation standards, and career pathways programs.

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