White House Conference on Aging Addresses Issues Facing Aging Americans
President Obama Speaks About Growing Importance of Home Care
July 14, 2015 10:09 AM
The White House Conference on Aging was held on Monday, July 13, in Washington, D.C. Once every decade, the Executive Office of the President hosts the Conference on Aging in order to address issues facing aging Americans. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) focused on a variety of issue areas affecting older Americans including home and community-based care, technology, innovation, caregiver support, elder abuse, financial security, and retirement.
In his address, President Obama said that “ensuring we have enough home care workers” is part of the solution to the challenges of caring for a growing senior population and seeing that “every American has the resources and support to thrive.” He used the example of his grandmother, a “fiercely independent woman,” who chose to live at home after his grandfather passed away. He said, “Medicare and Social Security allowed her to make that choice” to stay in her home.
Today, he said, our nation faces the challenges of “dealing with the rising costs of an aging generation, ensuring we have enough home care workers looking out for our family members, maximizing the contributions that older Americans can make to our country.”
“These challenges are just becoming more urgent and here’s why,” he said. “When we won World War II, everyone came home and had babies. I mean, not literally everyone but a lot of people had babies. And now each and every day, 10,000 of those babies turn 65 years old. So, more than 250,000 Americans turn 65 every month. They’re living longer and they’re living healthier.”
Obama said his administration has focused on improving home and community-based care and is committed to do so in the future. “We’ve expanded the options for home and community-based services offered by Medicaid, which means that more older Americans are able to make the same choice my grandmother did and live independently.”
In conjunction with the Conference, the White House also released a series of actions addressing issues affecting aging Americans. Some of the announced actions relevant to home and community-based care include:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a guide for home care patients and caregivers to make home improvements.
U.S. Department of Transportation will launch the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center in fall 2015, providing $2.5 million to improve the “availability and accessibility of transportation options that serve the needs of people with disabilities, seniors and caregivers.”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will issue a report, Long-term Care for Older Americans: Risks and Financing.
The Administration is launching Aging.gov “to provide older Americans, their families, friends, and other caregivers, a one-stop resource for government-wide information on helping older adults live independent and fulfilling lives.”
U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing a rule to allow homebound, older Americans and people with disabilities used Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to purchase food delivery services.
A number of federally-funded training programs to improve the care of the homebound and elderly.
In addition the Administration announced a series of private sector actions including: “Honor, a tech-enabled company that matches seniors with care professionals, will offer $1 million in free home care across 10 cities in the country and work with established care providing organizations in those communities to ensure this care goes to helping older Americans.” Home Depot also released a “tip sheet and ‘how to’ video highlighting simple home modification steps to help individuals age in place.”
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) in coordination with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) submitted recommendations to the Administration for topics to include in the WHCOA discussion. To see the recommendations LCAO and NAHC submitted, please click here.
For more information about the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, please click here.