Local Leaders Host White House Conference on Aging Watch Party

Edited WH Conference on AgingSeventy five Central Floridians, intent on learning more about key issues facing aging Americans, attended the June 13 White House Conference on Aging Watch Party streamed live from the White House to the Bush Auditorium at Rollins College and throughout the country.

Hosted by the Rollins Center for Health Innovation and the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), the Watch Party was free and open to local residents and others interested in aging issues. It was one of an estimated 600 watch parties held throughout the country.

The White House has held a Conference on Aging (WHCoA) each decade since the 1960s to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life of older Americans.

In his address to the conference, President Barack Obama indicated his belief the measure of a country’s greatness lies in the way it treats its older citizens and the United States has a lot to be proud of with the passage of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs. This has enabled millions of older adults to live out their later years in dignity.

But with 250,000 baby boomers turning 65 each month, President Obama indicated Social Security and Medicare face future challenges.

A panel of experts addressed retirement security, healthy aging, long-term services and supports, elder justice, and technology with a diverse group of older Americans, caregivers, advocates, community leaders and experts from across the country during the conference at the White House. Those viewing the event from around the country were able to tweet questions to the speakers.

The first 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 and have generated ideas and momentum prompting the establishment of and/or key improvements to many of the programs that represent America’s commitment to the aging population.

At the 2015 WHCoA, new programs were announced by the U.S. Veterans Administration (related to caregiving), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (related to food insecurity among seniors), and the YMCA of the USA (in partnership with the U.S. Surgeon General, designed to increase physical activity). Additional details on these programs are forthcoming. Blue Plus, a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota health plan, promoted their efforts to make communities across the U.S. more dementia friendly. To learn more, click here.

“Given that one of our priorities is to make aging issues a community-wide priority, the WHCoA represented a keen opportunity for us to increase awareness. We are thankful to the many people who attended and expressed their interest in our older adult population,” said Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director for Older Adults.

Dr. Chet Evans, Executive Director of the Rollins Center for Health Innovation, said “We are pleased to partner with our colleagues at the Winter Park Health Foundation to present this important event which is part of the Center for Health Innovation’s mission to promote healthcare issues and practices within the Central Florida community.”

Click here for more information about the conference.

To view videos from the event as they are posted, click here.