Advocates Push for More Help for Older Adults After Incarceration

Public News Service: Advocates Push for More Help for Older Adults After Incarceration (August 23, 2022)

A new report on the plight of older adults reentering society after a long period of incarceration found they have an extremely hard time finding affordable housing, health care and community supports.

The report from the nonprofit Justice in Aging noted 30% of the prison population will be over age 55 by 2030.

Ted Booker, business development and grants manager for the nonprofit Arming Minorities Against Addiction and Disease Institute in Los Angeles, which helps people exiting incarceration, explained the need for support.

“When you go to prison it’s almost like your life gets on pause,” Booker pointed out. “Whatever age you were, when you went in, it’s the same age your functioning level is going to be when you get out. I have individuals from anywhere from 40 to 60, with the functioning ability of a 15-year-old.”

Policymakers are working to make it easier for older adults returning from incarceration to get the care they need. Starting in January, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services intends to provide a Medicare Special Enrollment Period for individuals age 65 and older who are leaving prison, so they will not face late enrollment penalties.

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