Older Americans place a great premium on independent living, and we support their priority of independence whenever possible. AARP supports the creation of a comprehensive long-term services and supports system that provides coordinated, integrated, affordable and high quality services and supports. AARP promotes the values of independence, choice, dignity and privacy, whether in a home or institution.
Long-term services and supports should be easy to access, affordable and sensitive to cultural needs. Unfortunately, individuals and their caregivers face a confusing patchwork of programs that can make such help hard to find and pay for. High cost, limited financing options, and insufficient public funding are serious barriers. AARP supports a comprehensive approach that provides access to a full array of high quality long term services in the setting a consumer prefers and which is often less costly. In such a system, counselors would help families choose the supports that make sense for them. More help would be available for family caregivers, such as respite services to help relatives and friends avoid burn-out. Stable and adequate funding would help many more people get the services they need to stay independent and live more rewarding lives.
Individuals with chronic illness often navigate a maze of specialists and support services with little guidance. This disjointed system drives up costs, puts stress on families—and even jeopardizes health—through waste, duplication, gaps in care, and lack of patient-centeredness. AARP supports improvements that would place new emphasis on coordination, communication and guidance between the health and long term services and supports systems.