New Report Finds U.S. Communities Unprepared to Meet Needs of Aging Population

Previously we noted how this year marks the beginning of a tide of Baby Boomers who will reach the age of 65 and begin to retire. A new report by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging entitled “The Maturing of America–Communities Moving Forward for an Aging Population” is raising red flags about most communities’ ability to meet the future needs of the country’s aging citizens. Earlier we explained how local Baby Boomers were well served by meeting with a New York elder law estate planning attorney to prepare for their future, especially with the “Great Recession” causing many residents to question their financial ability to retire. This latest report similarly indicates that many local agencies need to do much more long-term planning to ensure that the programs and services that they provide are available to seniors when they need them.

Various services targeting the needs of the aging population are being scaled back in some areas, like home care service, educational and volunteer opportunities, housing assistance, and similar programs. The report reveals that the tough economic times have meant that it is all most communities can do to “hold the line” on these services, meaning that little planning and saving is being conducted for the surge of Americans that may soon overwhelm these agencies. The authors explain that aging agencies “have not been able to move forward to the degree needed to address the nation’s current ‘age wave.'”

Yet the news was not all negative, as some progress was seen in areas important to those involved in senior care and elder law. Many more emergency responders now have specialized training in dealing with older adults. There has been a surge in in-home support services as well as advances in elder workforce education. While encouraging, even these expanded services are not yet to the point capable of handling the millions more seniors who may rely on them as Baby Boomers begin to retire.

All news that raises questions about public agencies’ ability to provide assistance to a growing group of seniors should emphasize the importance of taking planning matters into your own hands. Whether you are a senior yourself wondering if you have the resources to provide for your retirement, a loved one trying to navigate the Medicaid system, or in any similar situation, a New York elder law estate planning attorney can help guide you through the process.

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