DE Aging-in-Place Working Group making recommendations to better serve aging population
DELAWARE- During the last 8 months, lawmakers, organizations, and service providers put their heads together to come up with ways to better serve Delawareans aging-in-place.
“One in five Delawareans right now is over the age of 65 and our senior population up and down the state is suspected to grow over the next 30 years; and so we are looking at how are we addressing a post pandemic workforce, a post pandemic world; we have to look at our seniors,” Senator Spiros Mantzavinos said.
The Aging-in-Place Working Group looked at ways to improve home and community based services. They met with researchers, state agencies, and seniors experiencing challenges with aging in place.
“A bunch of our concerns are services are not utilized to the full potential,” Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos. “A lot of services out there, but people don’t know about them.”
“There were stigmas around aging too and we wanted to make sure we started to identify them and to think of ways to knock them down,” Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos.
Ultimately, recommendations were made. One is establishing legislative committees on aging.
“I think we realized that this is just a first step and in order to continue to focus on addressing the issues around this population,” Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos. ” We need to have both standing committees in both the House and the Senate to continue the work.”
Also, we’re told a sub-group, including the Alzheimer’s Association, worked on addressing caregiver issues. They are recommending an investment in training and respite programs. They also discussed recruitment and retention efforts of the healthcare workforce.
“In Delaware, we’ll have less than 7,000 home health personal care aids by 2028, in order to meet growing demand we will need a 35% increase in this direct care workforce,” Katie Macklin, Senior Director Advocacy with Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter, said. “So, it’s really important that we strengthen the workforce, look at ways that we can and approach in strategies and minimize shortages, create incentives and career pathways to recruit and retain professionals.”
Going forward, the Aging-in-Place Working Group is looking at possible legislation to help make their recommendations a reality.
To learn more about the recommendations, click here.