The candidates for statewide office in the State of Ohio are running at a very unique time in the state’s history. Ohio’s population is growing older and that demographic change is something that will be a continuing trend for public policy in all levels of governance. According to research conducted by Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University, by 2030, more than 2/3 of Ohio’s 88 counties will have populations where at least 30% of residents are 60 years and older. Since older adults are a critical component to the future of health and human services policy discussions, the safety, health and economic well-being of older adults is one of The Center for Community Solutions’ six policy priorities. Election Day is coming, and we have a few questions about older adults for the candidates? What are they? Find out here Click To Tweet
Since seniors are, and will remain, a large percentage of the state’s population in the future, government officials need to hear about issues that affect this important population. The importance of candidate engagement before, during and after Election Day cannot be understated. Investments made in senior programs affect more than just seniors who may use those programs. Many seniors are also caregivers to their spouses, grandchildren or are otherwise involved and have an impact on their communities.
By 2030, more than 2/3 of Ohio’s 88 counties will have populations where at least 30% of residents are 60 years and older.
Many organizations that advocate with and for seniors are engaged with policymakers in the public policy process after Election Day. Just as important, however, is candidate engagement before Election Day. Data from election research shows that the senior vote is among the largest of all demographics, and that is especially true in Ohio. This means that candidates have to be aware and educated on top health issues that affect quality of life for seniors, and be able to speak to those issues on the campaign trail, as well as keep them in mind after they are elected to office.
To assist with that civic engagement process, we developed “18 Questions for the 2018 Election,” an informational resource for candidates and advocates that is broken up into six sections, one for each of our policy priority areas. Each section contains factual statements and three questions for the candidates to keep in mind as they create their policy platforms. In the section that covers seniors, the statements include facts on adult protective services, food insecurity and the disparate levels of local funding support available for senior services. Whoever is elected on November 6 will have crucial decisions to make for all Ohioans, but especially for seniors. Elected officials’ decisions will be critical to offices and programs that strive to make Ohio seniors safer and healthier, increase access to senior services through process improvement, lower health costs by finding ways for seniors to be able to age in their own homes if they choose, and to ensure a high quality of life for Ohioans. While there are many questions that we would like to ask all candidates who are running for statewide office, we decided on three questions that we believe will have a direct impact on the senior population in Ohio: adult protective services, fighting food insecurity with the SNAP program and funding for seniors to be healthy in their own homes. Those questions are:
- Ohio’s adult protective service programs have made advances in recent years, but understanding and funding lag while reports of abuse rise. How can Ohio improve both awareness and funding levels for this program so seniors are safe?
- Ohio’s SNAP program could reach more needy older adults if seniors could document their qualifying medical costs more easily and reduce paperwork. Will you commit to making it easier for eligible seniors to qualify?
- Funding for Ohio’s senior community services block grant has dropped $9 million since 2001, while the population of older adults continues to grow. What can Ohio do to make sure seniors have the resources they need to stay healthy and in their own homes?