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How to Weigh In On the White House Aging Initiative

Here's your chance to speak up on key policy topics for older Americans

By Liza Kaufman Hogan

The White House Conference on Aging released the last of its four policy briefs this week, inviting the public to comment on the key issues it is addressing this year.

A date for the once-a-decade conference has not been set, but organizers have been extremely busy the past few months hosting forums, webinars and listening sessions throughout the country. Their goal: collecting information to inform the conference and contribute to policy recommendations that will be delivered to the White House and Congress later this year.

“The United States is undergoing an incredible transformation as Americans are living longer than ever before,” Nora Super, Executive Director of the White House Conference on Aging, said when announcing the publication of the fourth brief — on retirement security. “ These policy briefs examine the opportunities and challenges of an aging society and provide the public with a way to share their feedback on how we best prepare as nation. We look forward to collecting and analyzing the comments.”

The briefs (linked here) cover the four core topic areas defined by the conference: Healthy AgingLong-term Services and Supports, Elder Justice and Retirement Security. Each brief summarizes the key issues in that area and poses a series of discussion questions to encourage public comment.

Calls to Action

People from a range of professions and perspectives have been commenting on the briefs, some writing at length about issues that affect them or their areas of expertise. The comments are worthwhile reading and will be part of the final conference report.

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"It is imperative to adopt actions and policies that promote biological research of aging and aging-related diseases to find effective means for healthy aging," wrote Ilia Stambler of the International Society on Aging and Disease in response to the Healthy Aging policy brief."

Please include the access to palliative care services and advanced planning. We need to support and honor the need for patient centered choice around options available with the functional decline that might accompany healthy aging and natural death," wrote Judith Kitzes of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

Responding to the policy brief on Longterm Services and Supports, Michelle Boasten wrote, "[C]aregiving is a huge responsibility and many women (especially) expect that they will be caregivers in some capacity. What we are not counting on is the impact of the demographic shift which will make nearly all of us caregivers to the baby boomers. Get ready to serve — ask not what your country can do for you, instead ask what you can do for your senior neighbor.”

Liza Kaufman Hogan is a freelance writer. Read More
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