September 27, 2016

The White House Conference on Aging Overview of Issues

As the two candidates campaign for the votes of seniors this November, here is a summary of the White House on Aging Conference (held every 10 years) view of the issues.

The White House Conference on Aging launched a series of Policy Briefs on its four topic areas: healthy aging, long-term services and supports, elder justice, and retirement security. The Briefs define and frame each issue and examine it from various perspectives. They also include comments collected from the WHCOA website, data from available resources, and the latest in evidence-based information. Each Brief concludes with a series of discussion questions, to which organizations in the aging field and other stakeholders, as well as individuals, can respond. The WHCOA will collect responses and use them to help shape the 2015 national Conference. By providing input, organizations and individuals will be able to become involved in the 2015 Conference in a meaningful and concrete way and help shape and influence its final vision.

Healthy Aging Policy Brief

Older Americans are calling for a shift in the way we think and talk about aging. Rather than focusing on the limitations of aging, older adults across the nation want to focus instead on the opportunities of aging. Older adults are seeking ways to maximize their physical, mental, and social well-being to remain independent and active as they age.

Read more about healthy aging

Long-Term Services and Supports Policy Brief

Despite efforts to stay healthy and prevent disease, many older adults will eventually develop some degree of limitations and need additional paid or unpaid help with basic daily living activities.

Long-term services and supports help older adults and people with disabilities accomplish everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, preparing a meal, or managing money. These services include health and social services that may be needed to maximize the independence and well-being of an individual. Individuals of all ages may have functional limitations, but these limitations are most prevalent among adults age 65 and older.

Read more about long-term services and supports.

Elder Justice

As Americans live longer and technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, older Americans face new challenges and opportunities. While technology is helping individuals to live longer and healthier lives, older Americans may be susceptible to financial exploitation and other forms of elder abuse.

Elder abuse is a serious public health problem affecting millions of older Americans each year, with some studies suggesting that as few as one in 23 cases is reported to authorities. Elder abuse is defined as intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm to an older person (whether or not harm is intended). Elder abuse encompasses physical abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, as well as emotional and psychological abuse.

Read more about elder justice

Retirement Security

Americans are living longer than ever before. In 2012, life expectancy at birth in the United States reached a record high of 78.8 years. A 65 year-old man can expect to live another 17 years and a 65 year-old woman another 20 years. As a result, older Americans have more time to help grow the economy, enrich their communities, and enjoy their families. But longer lives can also challenge older Americans’ financial security, increasing the risk of outliving their assets.

Read more about retirement security.

You can also read the final report of the White House Conference on Aging (PDF).