Perspectives: A New Approach to Advancing Aging with Dignity, Choice, and Independence

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For all of us, the start of the New Year brings reflection and the chance to chart a bold path forward. As we enter 2014, The SCAN Foundation celebrates its fifth year of working to improve the lives of older adults and their families. Our founding strategic plan set us on a course to raise public awareness, advance realistic policy options, and scale promising programs all in support of aging with dignity and independence. We are honored to have worked with many talented partners who bring leadership and visibility to the field of aging and long-term care.

Date Updated: 01/07/2014

The passage of the Affordable Care Act, the creation of a federal Commission on Long-Term Care, major federal and state initiatives to better connect medical care and supportive services for high need populations, and new developments in federal and state policy on how to best pay for care signal tremendous steps forward in thinking about how we deliver care to older adults. Yet much work remains to support older adults with chronic health conditions and functional limitations, as well as for the family members and loved ones who care for them.

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High quality, cost effective health care delivery is all about targeting – the right care, by the right provider, at the right time, in the right place, and for the right cost. It sounds straightforward, almost easy. The challenge to getting it right is understanding the range of variables in a person’s life that drive health care use and costs. Find out more in this week’s Perspectives.

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.