As more than 3,000 leaders and professionals in the field of aging gather in San Francisco for the 2018 Aging in America conference, addressing the needs of the aging population and the number of people living with disabilities will be top of mind. That’s more important than ever.
Approximately 10,000 people turn age 65 every day, and new projections from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the United States is heading toward a transformative milestone: older adults will outnumber children under the age of 18 for the first time in history by the year 2035.
This will impact every industry, community, and sector within our society. As people with disabilities live longer and baby boomers grow older, the need for long-term services and supports (LTSS) will increase significantly. Older adults and individuals with disabilities want to be independent, have control over their own decisions, and receive assistance to maximize their functioning and independence in their own homes and communities. However, progress toward better support for our rapidly increasing populations that are aging and living with disabilities is slow and uneven, and the experience of people with LTSS needs and their families varies widely depending on where they live.
It is because of this slow and uneven progress that AARP, the Commonwealth Fund, and the SCAN Foundation have focused the third Long-Term Services and Supports State Scorecard on picking up the pace of improvement in LTSS system performance. The Scorecard uses a multidimensional approach to measure state-level performance from the perspective of older people, adults with disabilities, and their family caregivers.
Just as the Scorecard is a foundation for picking up the pace of improvement, it’s also a foundational source from which more resources and tools are being built. As a means of providing a toolkit to help LTSS users and their advocates, state governments, and the private sector pick up the pace of improvement in their states, the Scorecard team has produced a series of promising practice reports. The four reports produced thus far highlight pathways forward for (1) supporting caregivers in managed LTSS programs, (2) supporting community living for veterans, (3) avoiding long nursing home stays, and (4) promoting person and family centered practices with effective no-wrong-door systems/Aging and Disability Resource Centers.
Another means of fostering the acceleration of LTSS advancement is by highlighting some of the leaders. Using the framework of the LTSS State Scorecard, the SCAN Foundation has recognized four states that are leading the way along various dimensions of performance. This “Pacesetter Prize” seeks to recognize states that are actively building a high-quality infrastructure for aging Americans, and to help all states learn best practices from on another. The prize was awarded to Vermont for affordability and access, Wisconsin for choice of setting and provider, Minnesota for support for family caregivers, and New York for effective transitions between settings.
At Aging in America, we will share key findings and updates from the Scorecard to inform and empower people—ranging from policy makers and other stakeholders to members of the public—on a range of strategies they can use to make a meaningful impact and support people’s independence and desire to remain in their homes and communities. Two pacesetter prize winners – Vermont and Minnesota – will share the secrets to their success. Representatives from those states, the Scorecard team, and others will be excited to engage with other participants in advancing this important topic.
The State LTSS Scorecard session will be held in Golden Gate 7 (Lobby Level) at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square at 9 am on March 27th.