Build Healthy Places: Fast Fact: For the first time in U.S. history, older adults are projected to outnumber children by 2035.
June 29, 2018 | Capital Impact Partners and West Health
For the first time in U.S. history, older adults are projected to outnumber children by 2035. Increasing life expectancy, a declining birth rate, and the aging of the baby boom generation will dramatically increase the number and proportion of the U.S. population over the age of 65.
Research indicates that the current aging population overwhelmingly desires to remain in their communities as they age. The importance of this desire is becoming more apparent to jurisdictions and service providers as they grapple with the rapid expansion of the older adult population over the next 10-15 years. This growing population presents challenges for how to ensure that older adults have access to the broad array of services that they need as they age in place. Instead of continuing to work in silos, stakeholders have an opportunity to develop solutions together to help older adults age with dignity and remain integrated in their communities.
The transformative impact of the Affordable Care Act has prompted health care reform and new opportunities to create holistic, comprehensive health care systems. By addressing the multidimensional nature of the process of aging, integrated systems have the ability to address social determinants of health – such as affordable and accessible housing, transportation, social services, food access, and civic engagement – to make healthy aging in community possible.
Age-friendly, livable community initiatives rely upon community development investments in housing, healthy food, transportation, health care and employment in order to come to fruition. While the aging and community development sectors both focus on creating healthy places, to date, there has been limited collaboration, but early pioneers are demonstrating the benefits of service integration. One example is the Aging and Disability Business Institute, which is building and strengthening partnerships between community-based organizations (specifically community-based aging and social services providers) and the health care system through training, resources and one-on-one assistance.