246132 Growing Older in America: Trends and Implications for Public Policy

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 4:30 PM

Myra Schneider, PhD, MSW , CommonHealth ACTION, Washington, DC
Natalie Burke , CommonHealth ACTION, Washington, DC
The aging of the population and decreasing capacity of individuals to afford retirement, exacerbated by the current recession, have intensified concerns about the federal government's capacity to support its growing aging population. In 2010, CommonHealth ACTION and BETAH Associates, Inc. administered a second online survey (1,022 respondents) exploring respondents' aging preparedness, their worries about aging, their concerns about the government's ability to support them, and their access to the Internet and anticipated use of technology.

Results showed that respondents were most concerned about the future cost and availability of affordable health care, that they hoped to age in place but were uncertain about the availability of affordable housing and transportation, and that they experienced pervasive uncertainty and apprehension about the government's ability to support an aging population. The majority had Internet access and planned to use computer technology. Women and those in historically underserved groups were particularly vulnerable to economic disadvantage as they aged. We will solicit a larger, more diverse sample in 2011 through broader dissemination of the survey. Our presentation will incorporate 2011 findings with those from the previous surveys, examine trends, and identify specific policy implications. For example, the US currently lacks a foundation of home and community-based supportive services to enable older adults to remain in their homes and communities (age in place). The paper will provide recommendations for policies that can address the needs of a growing and increasingly diverse aging population.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify key findings and recommendations from the 2011 National Aging Survey 2. Identify national trends based upon findings from the three surveys 3. Discuss implications for systems preparedness and public policy 4. Discuss suggestions for specific policy changes to address the needs of an aging and diverse population

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Research Associate performing research in the are of aging and public health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.