In order to address the profound disparities when it comes to equitable access to health and wellness essentials, the Diverse Elders Coalition has recently submitted a proposal seeking $450 million of the $400 billion allocated in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan toward elder services and care. The funding would last for over eight (8) years to support equitable access to Older Americans Act programs and services for older people who are from racially and ethnically diverse, American Indian and Alaskan Native, and/or LGBT+ communities.
As of 2018, 23% of older Americans were members of racially and ethnically diverse communities; by 2040 that number will increase to 34%. 5% of older Americans are LGBT+, with more and more LGBT+ older adults emerging from “the closet” every day. Older people from racially and ethnically diverse, American Indian and Alaska Native, and/or LGBT+ communities face severe equity gaps and challenges in accessing OAA services and programs. These equity gaps can be closed with targeted strategic investments as proposed. This is essential so that all older Americans can equitably access services and care.
All six organizations in the Coalition have elevated a series of initiatives grounded in the specific realities and needs of their diverse elder communities. Some of these initiatives include cyber education and improved access to virtual programming, cultural competency training, aging in place programs, health referrals, and more.