Perspectives: A Continuum of Quality Care For Seniors


The United States faces an enormous challenge as the baby boomers reach their senior years. By 2030, the number of persons older than 65 will nearly double—reaching 20% of the population. The new American Senior will attain higher education levels, have lower levels of poverty, increased racial/ethnic diversity, fewer children, a longer life expectancy…. and more chronic illnesses.

Date Updated: 11/01/2009

Currently, there is no continuum of care for seniors that helps them remain independent as they age. Our delivery system is still very hospital centric and acute/episodic care focused. The various programs that do exist are, at best, a patchwork—available in limited geographic locations, to limited numbers of individuals, and often difficult to access. Most of these services are under‐funded relative to current need, let alone future need. Finally, there’s a woeful lack of integration with current senior services, resulting in significant inefficiencies and, worse, a bereft population of informal caregivers struggling to coordinate care with little, if any, training or assistance.

Bruce Chernof HeadshotBruce Chernof, MD, President and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, dedicated to creating a society where older adults can access health and supportive services of their choosing to meet their needs. The Perspectives Series provides opinions and observations about transforming the way in which we age. Follow Dr. Bruce on Twitter @DrBruce_TSF.


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Chances are you know and love an older person with needs. Maybe it’s that neighbor of yours whose trash cans you help bring in once a week. Perhaps it’s your grandparent or even a parent who needs help understanding the bills or getting the groceries up the stairs. The reality is the population of older adults in this country is growing rapidly due in large part to the aging of baby boomers – a demographic shift that affects us all. Advancements in health care and technology have also spurred this phenomenon, yet we know that a longer life also brings a greater likelihood of facing multiple chronic health conditions and possibly needing help with everyday activities.

In this Perspectives, Dr. Chernof reflects on the Foundation’s presence at the 2012 American Society on Aging Conference and how improving long-term care in California will require the long-term strategies and dedication of a social movement.

This policy brief establishes a basis for the critical system transformation activities necessary to produce a high quality, person-centered system of care for older adults and people with disabilities.