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Strategic Policy Priorities for Promoting the Health and Well-Being of the Aging Population in New York

Prepared by the State Society of Aging-New York Social Policy Committee (2013-2014)

  1. Older Americans Act Reauthorization. Support the reauthorization of all provisions of the Older Americans Act (OAA.) Oppose changes that will disadvantage older New Yorkers. Enacted in 1965, the OAA is the primary vehicle for services and funding in every state that support the dignity and welfare of individuals age 60 and older. The Older Americans Act remains important legislation for vulnerable older Americans because it provides seniors and their family caregivers with vital programs and services to protect, nourish, and sustain American seniors with maximum dignity and independence. Download our Statement Support for the Older American Act (OAA)
  2. Elder and Intergenerational Family Justice. Improve the health of the public through identifying public health problems that affect and disproportionately impact older New Yorkers and their families. Support investment in preventive services. Expand understanding of the social determinants (e.g. income, education, employment, housing, and environmental conditions) of older New Yorkers’ health, well-being and access to justice.
    • Economic and Social Security. Promote poverty eradication among older adults and their families that includes: food security, access to clean drinking water, affordable and safe housing, economic security, employment opportunities. Promote healthy and safe environments for all ages, including prevention of community violence and access to health and social welfare benefits.
    • Clinical Prevention. Support improving the health of older adults through clinical preventive services, such as preventing falls and fractures, screening for cognitive impairment and dementia, screening for physical and mental well-being, and screening for vision and hearing problems, while avoiding the unintended harms of excessive medical procedures and testing.
    • Elder Abuse Prevention, Assessment and Intervention. Promote elder justice and prevention of elder abuse through provision of education and training to health and social service professionals, community involvement in elder abuse prevention, and provision of appropriate risk assessments and medical and forensic evaluations for older adults (Elder Justice Act). Encourage support to family caregivers.
    • Intergenerational Family Caregiving. Increase support for policies that promote intergenerational family caregiving (e.g., Family Health Care Decisions Act Amendments; Family Medical Leave Act; Caregiver tax credit).
    • Health Equity. Promote access to health equality and justice for diverse elders in all areas of disease and illness prevention and access to quality care throughout education, judiciary and labor systems. Special attention should be paid to historically diverse and emerging underrepresented and underserved elders, including but not limited to racial and ethnic minorities, women, persons who identify as LGBT, immigrants, veterans, persons with physical and/or mental disabilities (including dementia and cognitive impairment), persons with HIV, and the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.) Policies that support these priorities include: the Women’s Equality Agenda; Elder Justice Act; the SAFE Act; eliminating disparities in health and access to services and justice for older New Yorkers and their families).
  3. Mental Health Care Access. Increase access to mental health care for an aging population (including assessment and treatment for trauma, serious mental illness, and substance use disorders), and social and supportive services. Increase equality for all older New Yorkers and their families in access to services through the following strategies: integrated service delivery, suicide assessment and intervention, multidisciplinary mental health outreach, family caregiver support, and psychological, pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions, and coordination of mental health and drug policy.
  4. Pain Management/Palliative Care. Increase equitable access to pain management (including medical marijuana) and palliative care information and counseling. Encourage a public health approach to integration of palliative care services at all community and society levels. Support mandated practitioner education and training in pain management.
  5. Long Term Care. Promote ongoing policy development addressing long term care needs of older adults for health, mental health and social services, in the community and in nursing home and secure care settings. Encourage the inclusion of family caregiver supports and the improvement of care transitions.
  6. Disaster Preparedness. Support the whole community resilience initiative of the US Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security, which recognizes the importance of public health and public safety including mental health. Support its proposed system for planning, training, and education for practitioners, policymakers, experts, and community leaders, as well as provision of a means to operationalize community health resilience.
  7. Workforce Development. Build the New York gerontological, public health, and community workforce to better serve the aging population and explore innovations from across the states and other countries.

    Policy Priorities prepared by:
    The State Society on Aging-New York Social Policy Committee (2013-14)
    President: Mary Beth Morrissey, PhD
    Chairs: Tina Maschi, PhD and Jacqueline Berman, PhD
    Members: Martha Bial, PhD; Mark Brennan-Ing, PhD; Patricia Brownell, PhD; Robin Fenley, PhD; Ann Gubernick, LMSW; Art Mason, LMSW; Kimberly Williams, MSW

    To make a comment about these priorities: Tina Maschi and Jacqueline Berman.