Online Program

Aging in Place: Setting Goals for Public Health Policy

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Linda Kincaid, MPH, Coalition for Elder & Dependent Adult Rights, Saratoga, CA
Robert Fettgather, PhD, Mission College, CA
Elders overwhelmingly prefer to remain in their homes as they age.  Long-term relationships with neighbors and friends provide social stimulation and contribute to quality of life.  Maintaining familial bonds provides benefit to elders and their loved ones.

Innovative use of resources can assist seniors wishing to age in place.  HUD offers programs to finance assistive remodeling services.  Volunteer groups such as Habitat for Humanity help renovate homes.  Medicare covers some home health services.  Expanding the home health benefit could meet the needs of aging elders for less cost than long-term care.

A survey of the National Center on Elder Abuse newsfeed found alarming incidence of elder abuse in long-term care.  Case studies from California demonstrate unmet needs and diminished quality of life in long-term care, as well as profound knowledge gaps concerning indicators of abuse.  Case studies also demonstrate deficiencies in law enforcement policy concerning investigation of abuse in facilities.

Reports from the Government Accountability Office address the need for increased oversight of guardianships.  The American Bar Association developed materials for Court Volunteer Guardianship Monitoring Programs, modeled after child advocate programs that benefit foster children.  A number of jurisdictions are implementing guardianship monitoring programs.  Results are excellent.  

The public health profession can drive policies to encourage aging in place and the associated medical, mental health, and socioeconomic benefits.  Enhanced wellness and reduced health care costs can benefit individual elders and the communities where they reside.  Well-crafted public health policy can inform practice across multiple domains.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss improved quality of life and improved health outcomes associated with aging in place. Discuss desirable financial outcomes associated with aging in place. Discuss the role of public health policy in supporting aging in place.

Keyword(s): Aging, End-of-Life Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received my Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley and then co-founded Coalition for Elder & Dependent Adult Rights. I provide input to California’s Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-term Care, including twelve legislative recommendations for 2015. I was instrumental in driving California legislation to clarify elder rights in 2013. My research interests are indicators of elder abuse, characteristics of perpetrators, and law enforcement response.
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.