By 2030, adults 65 years of age and older will comprise over 20 percent of the U.S. population, compared to less than 10 percent in 1970. In addition, life expectancy has increased significantly, with greater numbers of adults living into their 80s, 90s and even 100s than previously experienced.
Increased life expectancy is a hallmark of a nation’s prosperity. It can be extremely challenging, however, for older adults facing multiple barriers including disability, fixed incomes, housing insecurity, limits on mobility, isolation and poverty. The complex challenges facing vulnerable, older adults and the corresponding significant changes in demographics provided the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation with the opportunity to work directly with community partners to improve access, coordination and quality within the systems and programs that support the aging population.
Healthy Aging Initiative
Early investments by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation included lead support for Age-Friendly Columbus, a citywide assessment and planning process resulting in a community strategy and implementation plan designating Columbus as an Age-Friendly City. Employing a framework developed by the World Health Organization, the effort resulted in the creation of an Strategic Plan for infrastructure improvements, service expansion and policy changes to measurably demonstrate improvements in the quality of life for older adults in Franklin County, especially the most vulnerable.
In addition, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation approved over $1.8 million in 2016, to seven local agencies, providing Franklin County’s vulnerable, older adults with expanded access to preventative health, case management and transportation services. Each of the organizations’ service delivery areas correspond with communities identified in the Kirwan Institute report as being “high density, high vulnerability.” The Kirwan Institute report was co-funded by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and The Columbus Foundation.
Columbus Metropolitan Club: Age-Friendly Columbus Panel Discussion
As the population ages, what challenges lay ahead to accommodate this generation? Featuring Mike Stinziano, Columbus City Councilman, Chuck Gehring, president & CEO of Lifecare Alliance, Susan Beaudry, director of programs for the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, Daniel Sinclair, Columbus resident, and moderated by Katie White, Director, Age-Friendly Columbus.