Recently the Senior Health and Housing Task Force formed by the Bipartisan Policy Center released a report titled Healthy Aging Begins at Home. This report examines current trends in aging and the demographics of older adults and, on the basis of these trends, recommends a greater integration of America’s health care and housing systems. The authors conclude that this integration “will be absolutely essential to help manage chronic disease, improve health outcomes for seniors, and enable millions of Americans to age successfully in their own homes and communities.”
In support for this greater integration of housing and health care, the report cites a growing body of evidence that shows “more tightly linking health care with the home can reduce costs borne by the health care system.” The report also notes that there are a variety of success stories of organizations that have made efforts to integrate health care and the home, including housing providers, health care providers, and local communities concerned with their aging populations. However, the report emphasizes that such efforts need to be scaled up to become national in nature.
In addition to calling for greater integration of the home and health care, the report reminds us that the United States faces a serious shortage of affordable homes for the lowest income older adults, and suggests the need to develop and deploy technologies that can help older adults age successfully on a wider scale.
For each of these areas, the authors suggest a number of policy changes at the state or national level that could help encourage and bring about the changes needed in light of the significant challenges that aging trends pose.