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Interested in Disrupting the Aging and Longevity Market? Get Involved in Healthy People 2030

Shannah Koss January 2, 2019
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When it comes to setting the public health agenda in the United States, one initiative has significant influence – even though you may have never heard of it. Led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Healthy People sets the nation’s 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention.

For those of us who work to support the growing aging population, Healthy People 2030, which is currently in development, offers a critical opportunity to influence how we address the needs of older people in this county.

HP 2030: Why Does It Matter?

For decades, Healthy People has determined priorities for national health. Federal, state and local governments use these objectives to guide their planning and investments to improve public health.

The coming decade will be a watershed time for our aging population. We should embrace this opportunity to set goals that will foster health and wellbeing for the fastest growing population segment: older adults. Objectives should include improvements in social, economic and physical conditions, which impact health three times as much as clinical care.

The public comment period on HP 2030 proposed objectives ends on January 17, 2019. Following are thoughts to help you add your voice to this conversation as the government sets goals for the coming decade.

Shaping the Coming Decade of Longevity

The HP 2030 objectives can shape efforts across many industries and communities. The healthcare industry is an important stakeholder, particularly insurers and at-risk delivery systems including Medicare Advantage, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and value-based provider organizations.

However, healthcare is only part of the equation. Participation and investment in community services and supports should include a much larger set of players. Ideally HP 2030 will include objectives and metrics designed to expand options for aging in community—including improvements in policies, financing, services, infrastructure and community supports in three key areas:  

  • Housing: Affordable, accessible housing that allows older adults to live longer in their communities requires government policies, financial options, architectural and zoning alternatives, and community support.

    HP 2030 has three objectives related to housing: increasing visitability; reducing housing burden as a portion of income; and increasing smoke free facilities.

    What additional objectives can help make it feasible and affordable for people to safely stay in their homes?
  • Transportation: Transportation is a recognized need for older adults who no longer drive. Access to transportation for shopping, staying socially engaged and getting to doctors appointments is often the key to staying independent. Transportation companies like Lyft and Uber are engaged, the self-driving car is around the corner, and most new cars have features that assist with safer driving – but we still need more options, particularly for people with lower incomes and in rural areas. Ride sharing, volunteer drivers and support for non-medical transportation need more sustainable and widespread solutions.

    HP 2030 has only one transportation objective about increased awareness of transportation needs if emergency evacuation is required.

    What commercial 2030 objectives could create the vision to achieve broader changes?

  • Caregiving: Family caregiving is a role that an estimated 40-90 million U.S. adults fill every year. With more flexible policies in the work place and more community resources to augment the caregiver role, imagine how many more people could thrive longer in their communities.

    HP 2030 only mentions caregivers in the objective on increased awareness of Alzheimer’s diagnoses.

    How can we expand objectives for support of caregivers and care recipients within and beyond HP 2030?
Learn More and Get Involved

I encourage companies and organizations with expertise in these areas, and other age-related considerations such as isolation and loneliness, continued employment, and fall reduction to consider your role and involvement in HP 2030. You can comment on the 460 proposed objectives (700+ fewer objectives than HP 2020) and recommend new objectives that will support older people.

Use the comment tool to identify data sources for baseline and target metrics. Or you can send overall comments to HP2030@hhs.gov

You can also consider attending an upcoming panel at this year’ American Society on Aging’s annual conference, which will focus on the need for HP 2030 and industry efforts to improve options for aging in community. We will explore more deeply how HP 2030 can help transform aging in place in the coming decade.

Shannah Koss

Shannah Koss is the Executive Vice President for Community Development at Livpact Inc., a technology platform for caregivers and their families that simplifies the processes, communications and logistics of care and daily living. She is an executive healthcare leader with over 30 years of achievements in government policy and healthcare advancing organizations that span the industry.

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