The Future for Senior Americans: White House Conference on Aging Releases Final Report

Once in each decade since the 1960s, The White House Conference on Aging has been convened. Designed to bring together older Americans, caregivers, family members, and advocates, the conference focuses on topics related to senior care, support, and independence. Last July, the White House hosted its 6th Conference on Aging, and this week, the White House released its final WHCOA report.

2015 was a particularly timely year for the conference, as it marked the 50th year of several relevant senior programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act. In addition to looking back at prior accomplishments, the conference highlighted current areas of concern in aging, including aging in place technology solutions and caregiver support initiatives.

Four primary discussion topics were selected for the conference, based upon feedback from stakeholders. They included: healthy aging, retirement security, elder justice, and long-term services and supports. Policy briefs on each of these areas were featured in the final report.

The 2015 final report incorporates feedback from individuals and groups who participated in the conference’s first live webcast. Over 700 watch parties were convened around the country, pulling together stakeholders from all 50 states.

According to the WHCOA, caregiving was the conference subject that received the most attention from stakeholders. As more older adults age in place at home, family caregivers have born the largest share of support. But with a larger aging population on the horizon, greater reliance upon paid caregivers will be needed. Technological supports will also be of larger importance.

Relevant policy recommendations generated from the conference focused upon such themes as attraction and retention of paid caregivers, better collaboration across service sectors, and evolving senior technology applications.

We encourage our readers to check out the full report, as it will shape much of the country’s aging policies moving forward.

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