By 2015 the 65+ population in Connecticut is expected to grow by 40 percent while the 18-64 demographic will decrease by five percent. In compliance with the Older Americans Act, the Connecticut State Unit on Aging (SUA) has prepared and submitted its strategic aging plan for years 2011-2013. (See sidebar.) This plan outlines how Connecticut will continue to prepare for and meet the needs of older adults in its state.
Though only 35 percent of Medicare dollars go toward home and community-based services (HCBS), those dollars actually serve more people than the remaining 65 percent of Medicare monies going toward institutional care in Connecticut. Considering the state spent $4.7 billion in Medicare in one year (2008-2009), much of the State Plan continues its quest to utilize as many available HCBS funding options as possible, in order to impact as many people as possible.
Other plan highlights include:
- Connecticut’s SUA received $26 million in federal and state funding in 2009. The plan identifies Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) and CHOICES (an information services program) as two highly successful programs.
- Connecticut was the first to receive a Community Living Program grant, enabling older residents to age in place longer. They have received another since and will continue to transition pilot Community Living Programs to permanent programs (page 16).
- Connecticut will focus on the health of minority groups (Hispanics and Blacks in lower income categories rate themselves nearly twice as unhealthy as Caucasians). These include mental health initiatives across the state. Mental health has a correlation with chronic diseases (older adults with chronic diseases have a higher likelihood of suffering from depression), so the plan focuses on the management of chronic diseases as critical to impacting other health issues.
How to Use
Connecticut SUA focuses nearly all of its strategy into maintaining a healthier older demographic who wants to age in place. Community planners and local governments searching for programs and ongoing initiatives to help fund and foster aging in place should find this plan to be a helpful resource in their own planning efforts.