Fighting for our Seniors
WICHITA, Kan. – James Thompson, the Democratic candidate for the Kansas Fourth Congressional District, today outlined his policy platform to secure the aging populations within our American families.
"The American population is aging," Thompson said. "While some 50 million Americans currently are over the age of 65, that number will double in the coming years. The generation that raised us needs to be protected as they enjoy the second half of their lives."
Thompson presented the following policy points:
1. Growing old in America does not have to mean growing poor in America
a. Seniors living on fixed incomes should not be restricted to only enjoying certain activities
b. Benefits should be expanded. Limiting ability creates a vulnerability among people that can lead to disastrous consequences
c. America has the ability to provide the best care and support for our life-long security of any nation in the world. By not acknowledging this, we do not uphold the promise of America
2. Using age as a number does not reflect when certain services should begin. Age is a relative number.
a. Access to basic care needs is a right that all Americans should enjoy
b. Limitations on access to various health care and well-being programs should not be defined by age, but by need
"How we approach aging must be changed, however," Thompson said. "For some, 70 is the new 50, but for others, the concerns that come with aging happen earlier in life. We must adapt our policies to not reflect age, but needs that various people have. The progressive reforms that created Medicare and our Social Security changed aging in America from growing poverty to growing in dignity. We need to adapt that again in the 21st Century."
3. Rural access to various programs should be managed not by population centers, but through means that bring services to them
a. Population centers are the hubs for health care and various program access. However, it puts severe limitations on our rural aging populations.
b. Development of rural programs must include better ability to help these areas
c. Urban centers can be the hubs for health care, but rural health care visitiation programs must be supported
d. Food deserts that limit access to nutrition to homebound Americans must be eliminated
"The lack of housing, and most specifically health care options in rural Kansas splits multigenerational families," Thompson said. "In these communities, it is common to see your aunts, uncles and grandparents every single day – even sit down and eat together as a large family unit of 12-20 every day...while in an everyday urban environment you might see your extended family once a month or less.
"Rural families are very tight knit, and when the elderly don't have a lot of health care options, particularly on the geropsychiatric side, those elders end up in Newton or Wichita, hours away from their homes. It severs the family and hastens the decline of many seniors. They literally die of sadness in a lot of instances.
"The baby boomer generation will shift the way that we approach aging in our society. Healthy, active adults can enjoy this time in their lives. It is not a time that should be feared with questions of housing security, health care issues, transportation, isolation, or food."
James Thompson is a progressive Democrat, U.S. Army veteran, and civil rights attorney from Wichita who is running for the Kansas 4th Congressional District recently vacated by now CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Mr. Thompson's platform focuses on fighting for Kansas families, education, employment and jobs training, America’s veterans, and security in the global marketplace.