In the Ohio House, as we undertake a new General Assembly, one of our main goals will be to strike a delicate balance between limited government interference and prudent stewardship of taxpayer money and assistance to those who need it. Without proper policies and programs that lend a helping hand to our most vulnerable populations, our state would struggle to come together as one and succeed in the future.
Our most revered, and at times vulnerable, sector of the public is Ohio’s aging population. We stand on the shoulders of our elders and have a moral obligation to ensure their protection and well-being. They are truly the foundation of any success we hope to build and achieve. During this General Assembly, I intend to make it a priority to help provide our elderly with their most important needs, such as more affordable home care service options.
This will be achieved through the creation of a new standing committee, the “Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care.” This committee will be led by my colleague, Representative Steven Arndt, who hails from Port Clinton and has experience with the Northwest Area Office on Aging. The committee will study issues related to the needs of our elders—from financial security to their more critical healthcare necessities—and will ultimately introduce legislation that offers solutions to their concerns.
I will also be establishing a Speaker’s “Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia.” Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are some of the most detrimental illnesses that plague our aging population, stealing their mental faculties and impacting family relationships and memories. The task force will ensure Ohio is on the forefront of medication, technology, and care related to these illnesses. We must be dedicated to giving back to those who have already contributed much to our society and ensure they are taken care of into the future.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), life expectancy across the world has increased by 20 years since the middle of the 20th century. In fact, in the next few years, there will be more people aged 65 and older than children younger than 5. By partnering with organizations like AARP Ohio, the legislature can make significant strides regarding the needs and care of our elderly population. As our population continues to age, largely due to incredible advances in medical technology, our communities will change, and it is important that at the state level, we lead the charge on these issues.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.