With less than two months left until the inauguration, President-elect Biden and his transition team have an opportunity to plan for the most age-forward policy agenda in history. Within each priority area identified by the incoming Administration, there are immediate questions the transition team must answer to ensure older adults are part of the planning and are considered as a critical constituency on Day One of the incoming Administration. We hope leaders from all parties take advantage of the broad opportunity to plan for 2030, when one in five people will be older than age 65.
As President-elect Biden builds a diverse transition team that includes more people of color and women, we hope he also includes older voices, to bring not only experience, but also new ideas and opportunities for growth. Given the disproportionate and ongoing impact the pandemic has on older adults, there’s no better place to start than with adding experts in aging on the COVID-19 Task Force.
The American Society on Aging is happy to suggest leaders in the field for this important effort. It is imperative that the transition team also recruit leaders in aging onto future task forces, advisory councils and the federal government who aren’t ageist, value older adults and who have an expansive view of aging policy through a nonpartisan lens. These voices can champion older adults across all of the President elect’s priorities.
Here are some looming questions for the President-elect and his transition team that directly impact older adults in this country:
COVID-19: How will you prioritize PPE distribution, vaccine testing and delivery for older people working as essential employees, caring for others, or living in long-term care?
Economic Recovery: How will you create jobs for older Americans now, and in the future, who face lost retirement savings and lower Social Security payments from being out of work?
Racial Equity: How will you address racial disparities across the lifespan in healthcare, housing, education and access to a living wage?
Climate Change: How will older adults be included as part of the solution, instead of being framed as the cause of the problem?
These are just a few questions we have. What are your policy questions? Let us know what you think the incoming Biden Administration should prioritize. Get involved in ASA’s policy work here.
Peter Kaldes is CEO and President of the American Society on Aging.
Image: "Grassroots Fundraiser with Vice President Biden and Senator Harris—Wilmington, DE—August 12, 2020," by Biden For President is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/