By Kay Kaylor
I advocate for residents in extended care and assisted living residences as the region’s lead long-term care ombudsman via San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA). I also am a Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor. Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.
A national network of 622 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) belong to the National Association of AAA, known as n4a. Its primary focus is to “advance policies that enable its members to effectively and efficiently address the needs of an aging America.” Every day, 10,000 people turn age 65 in the United States and, by 2030, one in five people will be age 65 and older.
One of the basic human needs is to age well and safely at home and in the community, so n4a prioritizes strengthening community options, such as long-term services and supports. The successful outcome of such a goal would be improved health and reduced health care costs for older citizens, such as through well-funded and enhanced Medicaid programs.
Every year, the network of agencies develops top policy priorities to guide its legislative and administrative advocacy, among them giving voice to more than 250 Title VI Native American aging programs. For example, the Older Americans Act, recently reauthorized, enables the continuation of numerous services promoting independence. However, its funding has not kept pace with the growing population of older adults.
Other community concerns include adequate transportation, socially engaging activities, caregiver support, addressing the social determinants of health, and preventing elder abuse and exploitation. Three social determinants that affect the health of aging adults are adequate housing and employment and accessible nutritious food.
SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call or text 403-2165 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.