Do National Politics In The USA Neglect Older Adults?

In many ways, gerontology represents the future of health care. The U.S. population is aging rapidly. By 2030, 71 million Americans (about 20% of the U.S. population) will be 65 and older. These individuals are at high risk for complex health problems, chronic illness, and disability, and they are, and will continue to be, the heaviest users of health care.

This nation’s decision-makers are currently confronting an enormous range of specific challenges in regard to health care for the aging populous. These include:

  • Contributions to the Affordable Care Act
  • Medicare payment reform
  • Restructuring health care delivery systems (e.g., the medical home concept)
  • Regulation of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
  • Improving quality through financial incentives (e.g., Medicare’s Value-Based Purchasing Initiative)
  • The role of States in health policy
  • Reauthorizing the Older Americans Act
  • Strategies for chronic care coordination
  • Mental health and preventive healthcare benefits in Medicare
  • Health information technology
  • Engaging consumers in health care quality
  • Funding for health professionals training
  • Setting priorities for biomedical and behavioral research in aging
  • Providing care for the aging cohorts of U.S. veterans
  • Strategies for individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid (Source)

It is very apparent that of late, probably because seniors are hardest hit by Biden’s runaway inflation that seniors are struggling more now. Social security has not kept up with the CPI (Consumer Price Index) which miraculously changes under Democrats so the raise in payments are minimal. This year a 5.9% Social Security increase, all the while everything is in the double digits barely helps.

Several states with large older populations have begun offering financial incentives (public and private) to boost the influx of new residents. For example, Vermont seeks to entice new residents by paying them up to $10,000 over 2 years to move to the state, which has an aging population of about 626,000 and a low unemployment rate. Maine, which began offering a tax credit to retain graduates of colleges and universities in the state, recently announced it would expand to higher education graduates from anywhere in the United States.

In Virginia, the law is as follows:

Ҥ 51.5-137. Administrative responsibilities of Department regarding aging services.
The Department shall have the following responsibilities regarding aging services in the Commonwealth:

  1. Develop appropriate fiscal and administrative controls over aging services in the Commonwealth;
  2. Develop a state long-term care plan to guide the coordination and delivery of aging services. The plan shall ensure the development of a continuum of aging services for older persons in need of services;
  3. Identify and assure the equitable statewide distribution of resources for aging services; and
  4. Perform ongoing evaluations of the cost-effective utilization of aging services.

2012, cc. 803, 835; 2020, c. 728.” (Source)

This year Virginia began a new initiative to help seniors and those with disabilities (physical of intellectual) under the Medicaid program via Blue Cross Blue Shield MediBlue the opportunity to receive a monthly $50.00 food card that would cover food or paper goods to assist them during this period of high inflation. The program was piloted in other states and found to be successful and helpful. For the most part, I believe Virginia deals fairly with its senior citizens, but of course, nothing is perfect. For example, this money must be used monthly because it will not roll over into the next month as it does in Indiana. It is a good program with different rules depending on which part of the country you are in.

At the end of the day do you believe that national politics in the USA neglect older adults?

13 thoughts on “Do National Politics In The USA Neglect Older Adults?

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  1. Yes and no. Everyone becomes “less relevant” as they get older, the exception being that you happen to be one of the multi-millionaire political insiders. To the extent that one party or the other can convince seniors that their opponent is “out to get them,” politicians seek to manipulate elders, in the same way, they attempt to manipulate all other human statistical groups. Politicians love to say, “I supported the (whatever) bill, which as you know (whatever it does for seniors),” even when that bill does nothing substantial for seniors — but it looks good on paper. We cannot argue that our political elite brought much credit to themselves during the Covid fiasco, and seniors suffered more than anyone else. Imagine restricting people’s movement when freedom of movement is vital to their physical and mental health.

    There are, I believe, some seniors who want more government attention as they age, but I think most want the government to do what it promised to do in terms of providing seniors with an appropriate fixed income … government programs that offer them quality attention, their dignity, and ease of access but then beyond that, they want federal and state bureaucracies to allow them to find their own golden pond.

    As to the neglected segments of our society, I wonder if anyone in this country is less relevant than our homeless population, which includes young children and people over 65 years. What is it … tens of thousands falling through the crack in the floor every single day?

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    1. Yes, it is the children and over 65 homeless that slip through the cracks and no one blinks twice. I keep harping how locally we should be more active within it and help establish programs that can help the less fortunate, but the attitude is – it’s their fault or they are lazy bumbs. Amazing how so many Americans just assume and box-in those outside of opportunities reach. Do not judge unless you have walked a mile in my shoes. I wish people practiced that. None of us knows what tomorrow holds. There by the grace of God go I.

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      1. The homeless issue is very complex, of course. I would guess that 90% of the homeless have debilitating mental issues and most of those so extensive that they are incapable of making the right decisions for themselves. But unless they pose a direct danger to themselves or others, they have the right to live under bridges, if they so choose. I look more to local communities for solutions to this problem than state or federal government … but the more state and federal governments tax, the less citizens have of disposable income to “help” fund community chests. In this sense, government IS the problem.

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        1. Absolutely! Churches and community outreaches fall short and refer these people to the government-why? Because they do not care and guess what? Neither do state or federal government agencies. It is almost a useless situation as help is waning.

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    2. I agree with Mustang, 70% of American seniors don’t need the government for anything other than giving them back the money they invested over the years in the Social Security System. The more they stay out of their lives, the better. But there is a segment of seniors that need a lot of help, and whether the government helps them, or organized charities help them, is where the debate should be. I’m for organized charities, as they’re a bit less inclined to give money away “no strings attached” and can identify and help differentiate the “deserving” poor (widow’s/ orphans) from the scammers and drug addicts who would be better off not having their vices “subsidized” by negligent “do-gooders”.

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  2. One of my oldest and dearest friends recently sold his small home (two-bedroom, 1,200 square feet) and moved into one of those “life plan” communities. It’s costing him three grand a month to live in a one-bedroom 960 square foot apartment. What does he get for this humongous amount of money? Well, a four-stage medical care plan where, I suppose, they promise to pull the plug once they’ve squeezed him for all he’s worth. He’s not at all happy with this arrangement, and I’m mad as hell that he let himself be talked into it — but life is a series of choices, and his decision is none of my business.

    These places always show pictures of seniors hanging out together, with smiles on their faces and so forth, and that’s all great if you’re an extrovert. If you’re less than an extrovert, then you stand a good chance of being socially isolated at a time in your life when you really do need human interaction. Would any of this change had he kept his home? No, but he’d have a hell of a lot more disposable income at the end of the month and I dare say a lot more dignity.

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    1. You are absolutely right. I never understood why American families do not care about their elders and seem to think that nursing homes and assisted living are appropriate for the physically and mentally able. These are our parents, aunts and uncles, who loved us and cared for us all our lives but are the ones that toss them to curb like trash.

      Now, for someone like my mother after my father died who had in-home services it was not and option. But as my dad became sicker from congestive heart failure (90) my mom at the time (86) was no longer able to care for herself. My dad before he died had my sister bring my mom to the hospital he was at to have her evaluated as he had his full faculties. Sadly my mom has dementia. To me only people that truly need the services of assisted living like my mother or a nursing home because it is too dangerous to live alone or they are physically ill belong at such places.

      I pray I go in my sleep before anyone tosses me to the curb! Not to mention they suck your money dry! Like my aunt who was forced to leave because they did not take Medicaid. They will do the same to my mom no doubt when her money runs out. Sad just sad. On the bright side my mom is happy – so she seems and my auntie was happy in her new assisted living facility until she passed in January. God bless them!

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  3. Having just turned 65, my only thought lately is… I hate Medicare already. It’s already shown me that I will have to live without some needed medical care and probably a prescription or two… or three. Mostly because those things are not covered and I will never be able to afford them… and now that I have Medicare, the Medicaid won’t cover them either. sigh

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