Lindsey Boylan’s Plan To
According to the Census Bureau, 2030 will be a transformative year for the U.S. population. Just ten years from now, older adults are expected to outnumber children — a first in U.S. history. Today, there are about three-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person. By 2060, that ratio will fall to two-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person. Many millennials are already raising children and caring for an aging parent while working full-time.
As baby boomers approach retirement age and average life expectancy increases, we must ensure their well-being by funding needed services for seniors in New York and throughout the country.
Lindsey Boylan is committed to ensuring that seniors of NY-10 have not only access to basic necessities, but a high quality of life. Social Security and Medicare are essential and need to be protected, but we need to do more. To this end, Ms. Boylan supports a progressive policy agenda that focuses on the imperatives of affordable housing, expanding long-term elder care, and the provision of high quality, comprehensive mental health care specifically tailored to the needs of seniors.
Given New York City’s housing crisis, low-income seniors are struggling to afford a place to call home. Social Security is a powerful anti-poverty tool for seniors, but it is insufficient for any middle-income seniors who currently spend a high percentage of their income on rent. They will “age into poverty”. This is an unacceptable outcome. No senior should have to worry about not being able to afford housing in the richest city in the world.
Boylan is determined to ensure that current and future seniors are able to “age in place” — stay in their homes and communities safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of their income. She supports:
- Housing as a human right through a National Homes Guarantee.
- Increasing the supply of affordable housing by revitalizing the Section 202 program, which has not been funded since 2012. This will increase the supply of affordable housing for the elderly with services that allow them to live independently with support activities such as cleaning, cooking, transportation, etc.
- Protecting renters’ rights by regulating predatory lenders and landlords; creating federal rent control and vacancy control standards; restricting evictions; and funding the right to counsel for tenants.
- Supporting homeowners who want to stay in their own house through tax credits and exemptions for seniors who need to make home improvements to make homes livable for aging needs.
Long-Term Care for Seniors
It is estimated that seventy percent of seniors will require long-term care in their lifetime. Medicare only provides short-term care and private long-term care insurance is an expensive luxury that many seniors cannot afford. The majority of seniors need to pay out-of-pocket and may draw down their entire life-savings doing so. Only at that point are they eligible for Medicaid — and that only guarantees coverage for nursing homes.
Families and loved ones are increasingly required to take on the responsibility of providing care for our aging seniors. This is a commitment of time and money they often do not have. Many seniors do not have support systems. Ensuring that all seniors can get the services and support they need to age with dignity necessitates expanding access to long-term care.
Boylan will advocate for the expansion of long-term care by:
- Supporting Medicare for All that includes comprehensive coverage for dental, vision, hearing.
- Covering home health aides and other services like medication management to help seniors stay in their homes. These are essential services and should be covered as a component of Medicare for All.
- Supporting family caregivers through a national paid family leave policy, making sure caregivers receive Social Security workers credits for the time they spend taking care of seniors, and tax credits for stay-at-home caretakers who are caring for ailing or aging relatives.
- Expanding Disability Programs That Work for seniors who develop physical disabilities as they age. Build on existing disability programs that make it easier for our aging community members to qualify for programs that help them access the things they need like grab bars, safety rails, delivery services for essentials like food, toiletries, and medicine, transportation doctors, banks, etc.
- Funding alternative support systems with a holistic approach to geriatric healthcare including research, geriatricians, and home health professionals.
Mental Health Care
One in four adults ages 65 and older live with mental health conditions. The number of seniors living with mental health conditions is estimated to double by 2030. Dementia and depression are cited as the most common neuropsychiatric disorders in older adults. Social isolation and the pain associated with chronic physical illness predispose seniors to depression. In fact, social isolation is proven to be as bad for one’s health as insufficient exercise and smoking. Tragically, individuals over 85 die by suicide at a higher rate than any other age group.
When Boylan talks about her support for healthcare as a human right, that includes mental health on par with physical health. She seeks to ensure that quality, comprehensive mental health care is available for all Americans. She plans to address the specific mental health needs of seniors by:
- Expanding access to mental health services through Medicare for All and enforcing mental health parity laws.
- Eliminating the stigma that people face in seeking treatment. To help accomplish this, mental health screenings should be integrated into primary care visits.
- Funding services for community engagement and friendly visits from volunteers and/or social workers which, is proven to have a dramatically positive impact on seniors’ mental health.
- Improve Transportation for Seniors who often face difficult transportation options that heighten social isolation. As we invest in transportation infrastructure, Lindsey will ensure that the needs of seniors are addressed.
“Our nation’s policies are lagging far behind the realities of our aging population. It’s time to address the new normal. People are living longer, and we need resources in place to account for our lives, and our loved ones, as we approach seniority.” — Lindsey Boylan