Framing the Aging in Place Agenda

by Louis on July 19, 2013

I was guest at a great dinner the other night courtesy of Marty Bell of the National Aging in Place Council. The other guests included Bob Blancato of Matz, Blancato & Associates. Bob is the well respected premier DC insider on aging issue. Candace Baldwin, whirlwind head of the Village to Village Network joined us as well. We reviewed the NAIPC Annual Meeting held June 13 and 14. More important we discussed next steps to make Aging in Place a serious national agenda.

There is little disagreement among us about the importance of Aging in Place as a solution to the impending crisis in housing, care and costs of the growing older population. We also agreed we need a solid strategy to form an agenda. Aging in Place is a complex topic. There are a lot of pieces that need to be orchestrated to make it work. Crashing forward like a bull in a china shop will not work.

We know the threats.

  • To individuals it is running out of money and being forced to live in a place that is not their own or their choice.
  • For families it is worry and embarassment about caring poorly for mom and dad and spending money on them, jeopardizing our own aging funds.
  • For the medical system it is penalties for re-admissions, etc.
  • For the larger community it is a lack of system dragging the economy down without accomplishing much.

The common denominator, no surprise, is money. Candace pointed out that the village movement is very popular and growing but not nearly self sustaining. I said we pay, communally,  for the streets – we need to recognize the value of the villages and ideas like it, build a system to save money and pay for it!  Bob said, as a New Yorker, he knows that a doorman, security and parking are what people want ..and they are willing to pay for it. But to spend money wisely we need to understand what works and what doesn’t, how the right costs equal savings. We need that to form a strategy and an agenda.

I read this morning’s blog from my friend Marc Gunther. He writes about culture change in consumerism. A line near the end caught my eye…and prompted this blog. We need to understand the money. We need to include the externalities- family care, business losses the potential of prevention and more – so we can see the landscape of  choices and form policies and models that can move us forward thoughtfully…not barging blindly as we are now.

I hope Marty’s dinner is the beginning of developing strategy toward a realistic agenda to make aging in place, as Marty described it, a national topic and obsession. Your ideas are appreciated. Start by sending them as comments to this entry.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean, Karen & Louise July 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Hello, Louis,
Cutting edge, as always! You are exactly right: consumerism in our culture reflects a set of values that do not equate with social wellbeing in many essential ways. So let’s be discerning about values. Where we put our money promotes the values we choose. We three cohouseholders choose community.
All best to you,
PS: Love your foreword for our book


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