As women’s health nurse practitioners, we work with women across their lifespans, from adolescence to advanced age. Our experience with such a wide range of ages has shown us that it’s the aging population that is often neglected.
The population of aging women is soaring and this generation of women approaches aging differently than their mothers and grandmothers did.
- Between 2005 and 2015, the number of women aged 65 and older more than tripled to 26 million.
- The number of older women will double by 2030 and continue to rise.
- By 2030, about one in five Americans of both sexes will be older than 65, with women outnumbering men.
- There are more women in the workforce after 65 and there are higher expectations for how to live well in retirement.
These older women are also facing more challenges, which include poverty, caregiving burdens, and stigmas around sexuality, mental health, addiction, and disability.
That’s why, for the last two years, NPWH has been convening leaders from a variety of organizations that touch the lives of women and aging populations to determine how to harness our work to make the whole larger than the sum of the parts. We recently gathered at a “Healthy at Any Age” /Older Women’s Health Coalition planning meeting in early November to continue our efforts from a spring meeting where we began to lay the groundwork for an Older Women’s Health Coalition that will work with policymakers, clinicians, researchers and the general public on issues facing aging women.
Diverse leaders rolled up their sleeves to review the suggested goals, structure, and agenda for how a new coalition that will focus on advancing the health interests of older women.
We will focus on four efforts:
- Advocating for federal legislative and regulatory policies – including federal funding for health research and services — that benefit older women.
- Promoting greater public education about the holistic needs of older women – particularly in physical and mental health care and breakdown stigmas and stereotypes
- Strengthening the knowledge of the clinical community about how to treat and engage with older women patients and their families/caregivers
- Promoting additional research into medical therapies that will improve older women’s health and wellness
As a next step, we are continuing to refine priorities for the coalition and are excited to dive into research on a report to be released next year. We also want to open up the conversation to others who care about aging women.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved, please email info@NPWH.org.