Biden an Apt Symbol of a Commitment to Healthy Aging

Ithink about the spotlight our new President will shine on an aging America and our industry in particular. Every time President Biden is referred to as the “oldest” President, that highlights how aging adults are living longer and more independent lives. It also can highlight the value of our work in improving the lives of our clients.

At 78, he is the oldest president in our country’s history and a shining example of how aging adults are living extended, more productive and independent lives. He showcases how life expectancies have dramatically increased since the 1950s, when people lived on average only 68 years. Today, people can expect to live to be about 78. By 2050, that number will increase to about 84, depending upon sex.

The Administration understands the vital importance of investing in the infrastructure of elder care in the United States, and has made it a significant element of Biden’s economic recovery plan.

A commitment of this kind bodes well for the homecare industry—not only for the people we serve but for those who take care of elders—as it validates the value of our work in improving the lives of our clients.

At the core of his plan is a recognition of the preference for aging in place, a key tenet of the homecare industry’s guiding philosophy. President Biden’s intent is to help aging Americans retain their independence and work to close the gaps in Medicaid for home- and community-based services.

We should be encouraged by the thoughtful approach this plan takes to solving an emerging crisis for our country, which is captured in two compelling statistics: 10,000 people turn age 65 every day and by 2030, there will be 88 million people ages 65 and older.

This is not just an American problem. All around the world, populations are aging at a faster rate than ever before. This past summer the World Health Organization, the United Nations agency responsible for international public health, declared that 2021 to 2030 would be the Decade of Healthy Aging, a global initiative to bring together governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, the media and the private sector for 10 years of “concerted, catalytic and collaborative action to improve the lives of older people, their families, and the communities in which they live.”

The World Economic Forum also is committed to the global issue of a rapidly aging populace and made healthy aging a key topic of the 2021 Davos Agenda. This annual meeting is attended by leaders from business, government, international organizations, civil society and academia who convene at the start of each year to address the world’s critical issues.

Eradicating ageism will go a long way toward creating a global environment in which we look at the second half of life with as much hope, interest, creativity and rigor that we devote to the first half.

Leaders around the world are committed to making the investments that will allow all of us to experience healthy aging.

These include changing the way we approach our health, by focusing on primary care over hospital care, prioritizing prevention of disease over treatment and adopting integrated approaches over managing a single disease. Essentially, truly caring for people above all else.

As healthy aging and aging in place become priority initiatives domestically and abroad, homecare is evolving. We are poised to bring our industry into the forefront as a vital force in our nation and a critical player in a society dominated by individuals older than age 65.

We need to ensure that we have the appropriate infrastructure in place to meet the imminent call for care from our growing population of older adults. The future of our industry and our society depends on us.

Charlie Young is the CEO of SYNERGY HomeCare, which is headquartered in Gilbert, Ariz.