Democratic and Republican Platforms Reflect Bipartisan Support for Helping Seniors to Age in Place

Democratic Platform Also Pledges to End Lead Poisoning

The Democratic and Republican platforms were just released, and both reference aging in place or a need for healthy housing for older adults. This bipartisan support is welcome in the face of the growing need to support older adults who want to age safely in their own homes and communities.

The Democratic platform, released today, notes that the cost of healthcare for older adults often results in having to choose between medicines and other critical necessities such as nourishment and safe housing. It also acknowledges elder neglect and abuse as an ongoing threat to many older Americans:

Seniors should not have to choose between putting food on the table, keeping a roof over their heads, or buying the medication that they need to stay healthy. We strongly support the Older Americans Act, which funds critical programs to help seniors remain independent in their own homes and communities. We are also committed to fighting the immense problem of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. [Page 7.]

The Democratic platform goes on to explain some of the reasons why aging in place is important:

Our country faces a long-term care crisis that prevents too many seniors and people with disabilities from being able to live with dignity at home or in their communities. The vast majority of people who are aging or living with a disability want to do so at home, but face challenges finding and affording the support they need to do so. Programs that emphasize independence rather than institutionalization must be better structured to support them. Democrats will take steps to strengthen and expand the home care workforce, give seniors and people with disabilities access to quality, affordable long-term care, services, and supports, and ensure that all of these resources are readily available at home or in the community. [Page 38.]

The Republican platform uses more succinct language but still acknowledges that the majority of seniors wish to age at home and agrees that there is a severe problem of elder abuse in the United States: 

Our aging population must have access to safe and affordable care. Because most seniors desire to age at home, we will make homecare a priority in public policy and will implement programs to protect against elder abuse." [Page 37.]

In addition to advocating for older adults, the Democratic platform also includes language about the elimination of lead poisoning, the first time a political platform has explicitly mentioned it. As a national nonprofit created nearly 25 years ago to fight the epidemic of lead poisoning in the United States, NCHH applauds the addition of this amendment to the Democratic platform, presented at the committee meeting on July 9:

Democrats believe we must make it a national priority to eradicate lead poisoning, which disproportionately impacts low-income children and children of color and can lead to lifelong health and educational challenges. We will prioritize hiring and training workers from affected communities to clean up toxic brownfields and expand clean energy, energy efficiency, and resilient infrastructure. [Page 33.]

As a nonpartisan organization, NCHH hopes that all of the political parties will recognize the importance of this provision and add it to their respective platforms.

Regardless of how Americans cast their ballots on Election Day, it's heartening to know that tackling some of our more serious public health issues will be a priority for the new administration.


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