President Trump faces incredible challenges as he enters office—climate change, a divided citizenship, ongoing wars and terrorist threats, ever-increasing domestic economic inequality, and escalating racial tensions. The aging of the American populace is another challenge he needs to address head on. Within this challenge lie many opportunities—opportunities for him to lead by advancing policies that promote productive aging for individuals and communities, such as promoting prevention and wellness and strengthening our economy with the help of older adults.
Here are a few facts on where we stand as an aging society:
“The aging of our population presents our most significant challenge to the quality of life for older Americans and continued growth and economic prosperity for the country as a whole,” says G. Lawrence Atkins, guest editor of the just-released Winter 2016–17 issue of the American Society on Aging’s Generations journal, “A Message to the President on Aging Policy.” The issue features expert authors providing solid, action-worthy policy plans addressing a path forward through this substantial demographic shift.
Some of the fundamental challenges of an aging population lie in the efforts to sustain the government programs that provide economic security in old age such as Medicare and Social Security, ensure promised benefits are delivered, and restore public confidence for younger generations in these programs’ sustainability.
The Generations issue authors provide ideas to solve these challenges and more, such as a five-point plan to restore public confidence and predictability in our retirement system; a step-by-step approach to lower existing and future healthcare costs; a comprehensive policy blueprint to pay for long-term care; a realistic way to foster healthy aging, reducing the need for such care; a federal strategy to address elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation; methods for strengthening the caregiving workforce; and how best to invest in our next generation of older adults.
ASA stands ready to provide expert sources, information, and education to the new Administration, to the press, and to the private sector—in short, to anyone who would like to help us solve these looming issues. This issue of Generations is available for reading here. Visit ASA’s website at asaging.org for more information.
Donald Trump, as one of America’s oldest presidents, must face the reality of America’s aging, offer solutions to the challenges, and advance the opportunities. It should be front and center on his agenda.