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Friday Five: Use of adult day care centers rises as the population ages

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about an aging population, policies aimed at helping the long-term unemployed find jobs, the growing use of adult day care centers, states increasing access to medication-assisted therapy, and uncovering who’s most affected by potential Social Security cuts.

1. America is aging and growing more diverse, census data shows

The median age of U.S. residents has increased since 2010 in every state except for North Dakota. NextGov summarizes this and other findings from the Census Bureau, such as 4 out of every 5 counties saw an increase in the median age of residents. In addition, the share of the population over the age of 65 has increased and the African-American and Hispanic-American populations are growing at a faster rate than the white population.

2. How to put the long-term unemployed back to work

Despite strong employment numbers, more than a million people in the U.S. are considered long-term unemployed. The long-term unemployed, who have been looking for work for at least six months, often face additional barriers to obtaining employment. This opinion piece in the Washington Post supports policy proposals that would incentivize companies to hire the long-term unemployed and assist them with other needed services such as childcare and transportation.

3. Adult day centers carving out bigger role amid shift to home

As a result of an aging population and a transition to more home-based care, adult day care centers are booming in popularity. Home Health Care News reports that the number of centers has doubled in the past five years. The median cost of adult day care is substantially less than homemaker or home health aide services. Group care could potentially relieve the looming caregiver shortage.

4. Leveraging Medicaid to combat the opioid epidemic: How leader states and health plans deliver evidenced-based treatment  

According to Health Affairs, multiple state Medicaid programs have had significant successes in increasing the number of providers and individuals receiving medication-assisted therapy (MAT) for substance abuse disorders. MAT has been established as the best standard of care for opioid use disorder, but barriers remain. States seeing success used multiple methods to increase access to MAT and focused on implementation.

5. Cuts to Social Security would hurt older, single women most of all

Women tend to earn less, live longer, and claim benefits earlier than men, according to CNBC, and thus would be the hardest hit if Social Security benefits are reduced. Benefit reduction is possible if program expenses, projected to exceed revenue as early as next year, go unaddressed. Millions of individuals depend on Social Security for income, with 44% of single women receiving 90% or more of their total income from the program.