Letters: Indiana must take care of older Hoosiers

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Pope Francis famously said, “A population that does not take care of the elderly and of children and the young has no future, because it abuses both its memory and its promise.”

As representatives of the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging, we strive to ensure that Indiana is a state that recognizes the importance of all Hoosiers but particularly older adults by advocating for policies at the Statehouse that reflect the dynamic challenges and needs of aging Hoosiers. With the 2024 legislative session, we are working with our state partners to address barriers for the aging population to achieve progress for all Hoosiers. From housing to social isolation and diverse representation in relevant policy conversations, our priorities positively impact Indiana residents of all ages and abilities.

After all, vibrant opportunities for older adults and people with disabilities are vital to several priorities expressed at the Statehouse in recent years—housing development, mental and public health, health care costs, economic development, talent attraction and retention, community development and thriving main streets. In 2024, the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging will shepherd legislation that aligns with the state’s goals, particularly by addressing needs for older adults.

Among other topics, the association will be present at the Statehouse, advocating for three primary priorities: alleviating housing shortages and other housing-related challenges for older Hoosiers, providing for flexibility in the Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled (called CHOICE) program to allow AAAs to better address the unique needs of individual communities and addressing social isolation for aging Hoosiers. Along with other stakeholders, we know these issues are important for supporting older adults, and we are committed to working with our partners in the General Assembly to make real progress to improve outcomes.

Area Agencies on Aging make it possible for more Hoosiers to live and age in their own homes and communities rather than in an institutional setting by providing the necessary supports and navigation services to manage the unique demands of the aging process. It is our hope that through our efforts at the Statehouse in the year ahead, our advocacy efforts will positively impact individuals, families and communities across Indiana—no matter their age.

—Chuck LaDow, board president

—Laura Holscher, Public Policy Committee chair

Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging

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