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White House Conference on Aging gets big boost from Gerontological Society

Society publishes magazine dedicated to this conference that happens every 10 years - conference details below news story

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Details on Aging Conference below news story

April 17, 2015 – The activist involved in issues of aging in America are working feverishly in preparation for the White House Conference on Aging, which includes the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), which has just published an issue of their magazine that is totally about the conference. The conference staff, too, is holding meetings across the country to find out what people want to happen at this event that only happens every 10 years. The only problem with this one, is the date has never been set. The White House says it happen in 2015.

Even without the White House Conference on Aging, this effort of the special issue of The Gerontologist appears to be a significant contribution to a national discussion of aging.

It outlines a vision for older adults pertaining to economic and retirement security, health, caregiving, and social well-being for the next decade and beyond, according to the GSA.

   

And because this year also marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, articles within the issue also explore ways to safeguard the continuing success of these programs.

The WHCoA has been held once every decade since the 1960s and offers a unique opportunity to shape the national landscape for policies affecting older Americans. For 2015, four main topic areas have been chosen: ensuring retirement security; promoting healthy aging; providing long-term services and supports; and protecting older Americans from exploitation, abuse, and neglect.

Writing in the opening editorial of the new special issue, GSA Director of Public Policy and Professional Affairs Greg O’Neill, PhD, and The Gerontologist editor Rachel Pruchno, PhD, state the 2015 WHCoA is the catalyst for developing an aging policy designed to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the aging of the U.S. population in the decade to come.

“The papers presented in this special issue highlight these challenges and opportunities, while also showing us several innovative solutions through their thoughtful recommendations,” O’Neill and Pruchno write. “We view them as visionary — laying the foundation for effective policies supporting an aging society in the years ahead.”

Policy prescriptions for all four topic areas of the WHCoA are included within the articles.

     
 

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They include, but are not limited to,
    ● recommendations for a universal private pension system and strengthening Social Security and Medicare through revenue increases rather than benefit cuts;
    ● demonstrations of how age-friendly community initiatives can make social and/or physical environments more conducive to older adults’ health, well-being, and ability to age in place and in the community;
    ● a template for the delivery, supply, and funding of caregiver respite care services; and
    ● calls for a coordinated approach to reduce elder mistreatment.

The latest issue of The Gerontologist is part of larger effort GSA is undertaking to help ensure the 2015 WHCoA is a success. The organization convened a listening session at its most recent Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC, welcoming WHCoA Executive Director Nora Super.

GSA also is a founding member of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, which together with AARP is holding a series of five WHCoA regional forums designed to gain input on the key issues from older Americans, their families, caregivers, and gerontological thought leaders.

In June, another GSA journal, Public Policy & Aging Report, will dedicate an issue to creating positive policy changes related to the four themed topics of the WHCoA.

>> Table of contents of the special issue

The Gerontologist is a peer-reviewed publication of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

About White House Conference on Aging

History of the White House Conferences on Aging

The first White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) was held in 1961, with subsequent conferences in 1971, 1981, 1995, and 2005. These conferences have been viewed as catalysts for development of aging policy over the past 50 years. The conferences generated ideas and momentum prompting the establishment of and/or key improvements in many of the programs that represent America’s commitment to older Americans including: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Older Americans Act.

The 2015 White House Conference on Aging

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs as well as to look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade.

In the past, conference processes were determined by statute with the form and structure directed by Congress through legislation authorizing the Older Americans Act. To date, Congress has not reauthorized the Older Americans Act, and the pending bill does not include a statutory requirement or framework for the 2015 conference.

However, the White House is committed to hosting a White House Conference on Aging in 2015 and intends to seek broad public engagement and work closely with stakeholders in developing the conference. We also plan to use web tools and social media to encourage as many older Americans as possible to participate. We are engaging with stakeholders and members of the public about the issues and ideas most important to older individuals, their caregivers, and families. We also encourage people to submit their ideas directly through the Get Involved section on this website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a White House Conference on Aging?

A: The White House has held a Conference on Aging each decade since the 1960s to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life of older Americans. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging is an opportunity to look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade.

Q: When will the next White House Conference on Aging be held and what is its purpose?

A: The White House Conference on Aging will be held in 2015. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs as well as to look ahead to the next decade.

Q: How will the 2015 White House Conference on Aging be organized?

A: In the past, conference processes were determined by statute with the form and structure directed by Congress through legislation, as part of the authorization of the Older Americans Act.

At this point in time, Congress has not reauthorized the Older Americans Act, and the pending bill does not include a statutory requirement or framework for the Conference.

However, the White House is committed to convening the 2015 conference and we will seek broad public engagement and work closely with stakeholders in the lead-up to the conference. We also plan to use web tools and social media to encourage as many older Americans as possible to participate.

The Conference Web site www.WhiteHouseConferenceOnAging.gov provides regular updates on Conference activities. The website also provides opportunities for older Americans and leaders in the field of aging to provide their input and personal stories.

Q: How are issues being selected for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging?

A: We are engaging with stakeholders and members of the public about the issues most important to older individuals, their caregivers, and families. To listen and learn from key aging leaders and older Americans, the Administration is participating in listening sessions with older Americans and advocates across the country. These listening sessions began in July 2014 and will continue up to and during the Conference.

As we listen to aging leaders and older Americans, some of the common themes we hear include the following:

·         Retirement security is a vitally important issue. Financial security in retirement provides essential peace of mind for older Americans, but requires attention during our working lives to ensure that we are well prepared for retirement.

·         Healthy aging will be all the more important as baby boomers age. As medical advances progress, the opportunities for older Americans to maintain their health and vitality should progress as well and community supports, including housing, are important tools to promote this vitality.

·         Long-term services and supports remain a priority. Older Americans overwhelmingly prefer to remain independent in the community as they age. They need supports to do so, including a caregiving network and well-supported workforce.

·         Elder justice is important given that seniors, particularly the oldest older Americans, can be vulnerable to financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect. The Elder Justice Act was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, and we need to realize its vision of protecting seniors from scam artists and others seeking to take advantage of them.

Q: What activities are planned as we move forward to the 2015 White House Conference on Aging?

A: We will be hosting a series of webinars focusing on issues important to older Americans for older adults, their families, stakeholders and others. Additionally, we are hosting a series of regional forums, and the Executive Director is holding listening sessions with stakeholder groups across the country. The Conference website also features a regular blog that provides information and resources on topics of interest to older Americans, their families, caregivers, and others.

Q: What is the plan for funding the White House Conference on Aging?

A: In the President's Fiscal Year 2015 budget request, the Administration proposed $3 million to support the White House Conference on Aging. No funding has been appropriated to date, thus without direct appropriations, the scale and scope of the Conference will differ from previous Conferences.  However, as we go forward, we expect to use technology and other tools not available in the past to reach and engage more people than was previously possible.

As with previous White House Conferences on Aging, the Assistant Secretary for Aging at the Department of Health and Human Services has authority to accept gifts (in kind or in cash) for the planning and conduct of the Conference. If you or your organization would like to learn more about how to support the White House Conference on Aging, please contact Nora Super, Executive Director, 2015 White House Conference on Aging, at 202-619-3636; or Nora.Super@whaging.gov; or 637-D, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20201.

Q: How can I become a delegate or nominate someone to participate as a delegate in the 2015 White House Conference on Aging?

A: In the past, Conference processes were determined by statute with the form and structure directed by Congress through legislation. Congress has not reauthorized the Older Americans Act, and the pending bill does not include a statutory requirement or framework for the Conference. As a result, the 2015 conference will be different than previous conferences in structure. We will seek broad public engagement, but we will not establish a formal delegate process. We plan to use technology and the regional office structure to allow as many people as possible to participate during the coming year.

Q: I've heard that the conference will be entirely virtual. Is that true?

A: No. It is true that the 2015 Conference will be different than past conferences, and we plan to utilize technology to include as many people as possible. However, we do plan to host a live event in Washington, DC.

Q: When will the next White House Conference on Aging be held?

A: The White House Conference on Aging will be held in 2015. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs as well as to look ahead to the next decade. We have not yet set a specific date.

Q: How can I provide input into the agenda for the White House Conference on Aging or its policy making process?

A: Beginning in July and continuing throughout the year, we are holding listening sessions and stakeholder meetings across the country to gather input. We also have set up a mechanism on our website for individuals, organizations, coalitions and others to submit comments (www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov). We value the input and ideas of older adults, their families, stakeholders, and others, and we think it is an essential part of the Conference process.

Q: My organization or state wants to host an event related to the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. How can I get my event to be officially designated as a WHCOA event?

A: The 2015 White House Conference on Aging staff continue to receive a tremendous amount of information, comments, proposals, and general input regarding the Conference agenda and program. We appreciate the excitement and enthusiasm that exists surrounding the development of the 2015 Conference, and we will continue to seek input from a broad array of stakeholders and interested parties as we prepare the 2015 agenda.

Only those events that are sponsored by the White House Conference on Aging will be considered official events. Given that we have limited staff and resources compared with prior conferences, we are not able to accept and consider applications to host independent events. We also do not have a process for endorsing events nor for sharing the name, logo, or image of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging for use in any non-Federal events.

Q: Who should I contact if I have other questions or would like to provide input to the White House Conference on Aging?

A: For additional questions or to provide specific input, please feel free to contact:

White House Conference on Aging
200 Independence Avenue SW, Suite 637D
Hubert H. Humphrey Building
Washington, DC  20201
(202) 619-3636
info@whaging.gov
www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov

 

 

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