Field of Work: Long-term care for older adults
Problem Synopsis: America's population is growing older and living longer. The over-65 population is expected to double in the coming decades. The fastest-growing segment of the population is people age 85 and older—those who are most likely to need help maintaining their daily lives.
The long-term-care system is not prepared to meet these shifts. It is underfunded, uncoordinated, biased toward institutional care and characterized by significant gaps in essential services. The consequences for older adults and their family caregivers include reduced quality of life, unnecessary health problems and premature disability.
Synopsis of the Work: Partnerships that included diverse local organizations and older adults worked collaboratively in 16 communities to raise awareness of aging issues and to undertake projects to improve the lives of vulnerable seniors.
Each partnership defined its own priorities and approach. Strategies included: developing neighborhood networks; improving the transition from hospital to home; removing cultural barriers to existing services; educating providers; supporting caregivers; expanding transportation options; and responding to crises.