Addressing the Looming Demand for Care as Americans Age

By 2050, the number of Americans age 65 and older is projected to almost double to about 84 million. With 70 percent of older Americans expected to seek assistance in maintaining their health and well-being, policymakers, insurers, health care providers, and consumers must find effective and affordable ways to harness the health care workforce to provide long-term services and supports (LTSS) to this population.

Nurses have developed many creative, sustainable, and compassionate ways to care for individuals who, because of disability, frailty, or illness, cannot care for themselves. Through advocacy and education and by spearheading and implementing novel programs, nurses are making it easier for older, chronically ill individuals to stay healthier, remain in the community with their families, and avoid developing expensive debilitating conditions. The 24th policy brief in the Charting Nursing’s Future series, “Addressing the Looming Demand for Care as Americans Age: How Nurses Are Reshaping Long-Term Services and Supports,” describes some of these LTSS programs, their potential to reshape care for older Americans, and policies that could facilitate their widespread adoption.