Policy Briefs

Policy Briefs and Backgrounders

This series of Policy Briefs and Backgrounders summarizes the Network on an Aging Society's policy recommendations for the coming four years on a range of topics. Our intent is to translate the latest research findings into changes to public policies that can help us better adapt to both greater longevity and the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. Our hope is that each of these will help both current and future cohorts of Americans to live better and more productive lives.

The policy brief on Generational Cohesion is an overview intended to provide a framework for the briefs that follow. Each of the subsequent Policy Briefs and the associated Backgrounders focuses on a set of policy initiatives that we recommend for consideration by the President and Congress.


Supporting Informal Caregiving in an Aging Society calls for greater support for the millions of unpaid caregivers in the United States who provide care for an elderly person. Without this unpaid care, the costs would surely overwhelm the health care system. Caregivers also risk their own health from the stress of caregiving. These papers examine family characteristics of caregivers, the challenges they face, and potential intervention strategies to help ease the burden of caregiving.

Generational Cohesion

Ensuring Generational Cohesion in an Aging Society sets the stage for the other briefs in this series by outlining the parameters of a stronger social compact between the generations, and dispelling some common myths about supposed “greedy geezers.” Resources in fact flow both ways. And behind all the rhetoric, there is a strong commitment between the generations to care for each other. By bringing these myths to light, policymakers can focus on the challenges and opportunities that until now have been given little attention.

Health Care

Improving Health Care and Support for Older Americans outlines the parameters of what greater efficiencies in the health care system and a stronger focus on prevention might look like in addressing the challenges (and benefits) of an aging society.


Promoting Productivity in an Aging Society. An aging society will require new initiatives—initiatives that go far beyond balancing the Social Security Trust Fund— if we are to continue to enjoy high productivity at work and the creative contributions of people of all ages. This set of papers reveals the many untapped resources, both in and out of the workforce, that older Americans can contribute and how policies might better tap those resources. It begins by calling for raising the early retirement age.

Lifelong Learning

Promoting Lifelong Learning in an Aging Society. Despite its importance to health, economic security, and well-being, education is fleeting for far too many and is stacked largely at the beginning of life. These papers outline avenues to connect and reconnect with learning opportunities throughout life and create solid paths for life-long learning.