Aging Takes Center Stage at White House Conference

Growing older in America will be in the limelight at the White House Conference on Aging which takes place on Monday, July 13 at the White House. The conference is held once every decade for “the purpose of identifying and advancing actions to improve the quality of life.”

President Obama will help kick off the daylong event which will include other senior administration officials, community leaders, caregivers, older adults, families, advocates, and experts from a wide range of health and social service disciplines. Many more will tune in online to join the national dialogue.

What makes this year’s conference especially significant is 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security.

White House Conference on Aging logoFour key areas will form the structure of the conference:

Retirement security

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

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 support, including housing, are important tools to promote this vitality.

Long-term services

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

Elder justice

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.

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.

Conference Past and Present

In the past, the conference agenda was 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, framework or budget for the 2015 conference.

However, the White House was committed to hosting a White House Conference on Aging in 2015. They are using web tools and social media to encourage as many older Americans as possible to participate. There is an opportunity for the public to submit their ideas directly through the Get Involved section on the WHCOA website.

Where to find information

The Conference website (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.

The WHCOA organization has been encouraging the public to participate via watch parties.

According to the organizers, “The White House Conference on Aging is working with older adults, families, caregivers, advocates, community leaders, and experts in the aging field across America to hold Watch Parties across the country so that this will be, we believe, the largest White House Conference on Aging to date. With people participating far and wide, we plan to make the day as interactive and engaging as possible using multi-media including video and social media.

“We encourage all organizations hosting Watch Parties—whether public or private—to register the parties.”

For further information: White House Conference on Aging website

 

 

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