Healthy Aging Begins at Home, a report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center, outlines an actionable policy agenda to accommodate America’s older adults. The report breaks down the challenges of housing and caring for the growing aging population into four dimensions: expanding the supply of affordable housing, adapting existing housing to ensure accessibility, encouraging long-term care at home, and utilizing technology. For each of the dimensions, the report provides specific policy recommendations at the federal, state and local levels.
To increase the supply of affordable housing, the report recommends adequate federal funding of various housing programs to preserve and create affordable housing options for older adults and encourages the local adoption of land-use policies that allow accessory dwelling units and group homes. To meet the accessibility needs of seniors, the report recommends better coordination of federal programs that provide funding for home modifications; reauthorization of the Community Innovations for Aging in Place (CIAIP) – a nationwide community-based initiative to coordinate health and social services for older adults; and state and local efforts to provide property tax relief to seniors and grants and forgivable loans for home modifications. To encourage long-term care, the report recommends health care and supportive services under Medicare be provided in the home, especially for older adults in publicly assisted housing. The report also recommends that healthcare providers incorporate housing questions in their discharge planning to prevent hospital readmissions and to identify instances where older adults could benefit from a non-institutional community-based arrangement. To make use of technology, the report recommends that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and states encourage greater reimbursement of telehealth and other technologies to improve health outcomes and reduce costs and that Congress and states make broadband available to HUD, USDA, and Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties where low-income older adults reside in both rural and urban communities.
The full set of detailed recommendations from Healthy Aging Begins at Home is available at: http://bit.ly/22nEQe9