Confident senior man holds his wife's hands while they pray together in their home.
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Twelve more faith-based organizations have joined LeadingAge in calling for the creation of a White House Office on Aging Policy to deliver “focused, effective coordination” of federal programming aimed at older adults. 

The United States is unprepared for the growing older adult population, they said in a May 12 letter to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The letter followed LeadingAge’s original request in December

“The nation is at an inflection point on policies related to older adults,” LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan said in a statement.

A strong federal presence, she said, must bring together health, long-term care, housing, economics and environmental interests. She called on the office to include labor, education, budget, technology, agriculture, international/global issues, homeland security, veterans affairs and other areas.

The more than 25 federal agencies responsible for policies related to older adults oversee initiatives and programs that have evolved “without overarching leadership and coordination, resulting in severely inadequate support, redundancies, gaps and conflicting eligibility requirements,” the letter reads. 

As organizations embedded within their greater communities, the aging services leaders said they know the challenges that families face in accessing care.

“We witness the confusion,” the letter reads, adding that the organizations help guide people through the “complex and conflicting eligibility requirements” and address their concerns about “being left behind, lonely and lost.”

The leaders pointed to a recent executive order on increasing access to high-quality care and supporting caregivers. That order called on cabinet secretaries to direct resources to older adults and caregivers in an “all-of-government approach.” 

“Now you must finish the job by establishing a body to align those resources through a consistent and comprehensible approach to making care and services more accessible,” the letter concludes.

Collectively, the signing organizations represent more than 5,000 providers serving older adults and disabled individuals. They represent a range of faiths and denominations, including Catholics, Episcopalians, Jews, United Church of Christ, Mennonites, Methodists, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Prebyterians and Quakers.