By Sandra Bienkowski
The White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) convened for four days in mid-December to discuss “The Booming Dynamics of Aging: From Awareness to Action.” The conference, which only occurs once every 10 years, focused on the challenges and opportunities that face the 78 million baby boomers born through 1946 and 1964 and how to develop effective aging policies and initiatives for the future.
The 17-member WHCoA Policy Committee, appointed by the president and Congress, held 13 Listening Sessions in 2005 to gather information from the public, 20 Solution Forums that helped the committee define its agenda, as well as several mini-conferences. Delegates (1,200 total), including governors, the National Congress of American Indians, members of the 109th Congress as well as representatives of aging organizations, selected the top 50 resolutions they believe to be the most important policy initiatives for current and future generations of seniors. Delegates will use this list to make recommendations to the president and Congress. (To view the list in its entirety, visit www.whcoa.gov)
The Honorable Dorcas R. Hardy
Former Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
Current Chairperson and Policy Committee Member, WHCoA, and President of Dorcas R. Hardy & Associates
MM: What outcomes can we expect from the conference that will assist people with disabilities?
MM: Can you comment on how aging in place showed up in the resolutions?
MM: Is it true that universal design and housing were repeatedly addressed at the conference?
MM: We have heard that many people with lifelong disabilities are living longer. Was this discussed at the conference?
Robert B. Blancato
President of Matz, Blancato & Associates Inc., Washington, D.C.
White House Policy Committee Member
MM: How do you think the resolutions will help create an accessible nation?
MM: How can communities promote aging in place?
MM: Do you think the conference made a significant impact in addressing the needs of people with disabilities?