Ten years ago, I experienced a stunning revelation. By then, I had spent 25 years as a gerontologist. I was professionally occupied with all things aging. I conducted research using longitudinal data sets and sophisticated statistical analyses. I developed and evaluated programs to improve older people’s lives. I taught courses and gave lectures on aging. I opined on policy issues affecting our aging society. So what was the revelation?
I never talked with older people.
In July 2008, 68-year-old Mr. S appeared on the doorstep of his longtime friend, Virginia, carrying a garbage bag that contained everything he owned. Despite the fact that he lived just a few miles away, Virginia hadn’t seen him in well over a year. She invited him inside. In halting, labored speech, he told her about having been abused and financially exploited by a woman he’d met in a bar months earlier.
Generations Guest Editors Tricia Neuman and John Rother devised and posed the questions in this discussion between Joseph Antos, Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and Thomas Rice, Distinguished Professor of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management in Los Angeles, California.
Few issues have flummoxed policy makers more than how to address the need to improve coverage of long-term-care services and supports (LTSS). Two leading experts, Sheila Burke, adjunct lecturer and faculty research fellow at the Malcolm Weiner Center for Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Judith Feder, founding dean and professor at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy and Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute, both in Washington, D.C., provide their perspectives on the role Medicare can play.