White House Conference on Aging To Examine Elder Care
The USA Today examined on Monday the fifth annual White House Conference on Aging, which takes place this week. By law, the conference is to convene every 10 years to develop strategies in dealing with U.S. senior citizens.
Roughly 1,200 national delegates, policymakers and advocates for the elderly are expected to discuss the growing number of elderly with Alzheimer's disease, which is expected to affect nearly 16 million people by 2025; a shortage of geriatric physicians, family and professional caregivers; lack of proper housing and transportation for older people; and growth in costs of entitlement programs. During the three-day conference, delegates will vote on 73 resolutions developed by a policy committee from meetings held throughout the country this past year and individual meetings will be held to develop implementation strategies.
"We haven't really begun to grapple with these issues of what the aging of America is going to mean," Gail Gibson Hunt, president of the not-for-profit National Alliance for Caregiving and member of the conference policy committee, said. She added, "What is it going to mean when our whole population in this country looks like Florida does now -- when you have 20% of the people being 65 and older? How are we going to change aging?"
President Bush is not expected to address the conference.
According to John Rother, AARP's director of policy and strategy, it would be the first time since 1961 that a president has not addressed the conference (Kornblum, USA Today, 12/12).