Older adulthood should be a time for joy, celebration, and fulfillment.
We are all aging, all of the time. From when we are a newborn, toddler, teen, adult, and on to older adulthood, we are aging, growing, and developing. Experience grows across the life course. Also, we all have older adults in our lives. Children may be babysat by a grandparent––play catch, go on hikes, garden, or cook together. As we age ourselves into adulthood, we might also be called upon to care for a grandparent, our own parents, other relatives, friends, or neighbors. Many of us are professional caregivers, too.
Aging equity is about both young people and older adults––and everyone in between. While other factors come into play, what happens in your life at a young age, early adulthood, and onward all affects the trajectory of how you will age across life. Aging equity is about caring for older adults and supporting the people who care for them. Aging equity is about people being able to age with dignity and in their community and home of choice. Aging equity is about having choices for how we live and being a valued part of one’s community throughout life.
The need for a plan: What kinds of supports will be there for all of us as we and the people around us age? What kinds of planning is needed now in order to have the resources in place as our population ages?
Counties across Illinois have experienced a significant shift in population over the last few decades, from the once growing youth populations to now growing older adult populations. As many manufacturing jobs have moved out of Illinois over the years, and migration of remote workers and many retirees, Illinois has experienced population loss.
While all states who receive Federal Older Americans Act funding through the Administration for Community Living have 3–year state plan on aging, very few have long-term strategic action plans for aging. Those that do have these plans tend to score higher in providing better quality of life through community supports and services, than do states without these plans.
Like the rest of the country and much of the world, Illinois’s population is aging. Illinois needs a Strategic Action Plan for Aging. Join the Illinois Aging Together campaign now!