White House Conference on Aging

White House Conference on Aging

The White House Conference on Aging is a once-a-decade conference sponsored by the Executive Office of the President of the United States which makes policy recommendations to the President and Congress regarding the aged. The goals of the Conference are to promote the dignity, health and economic security of older Americans. It is the most well-known White House conference.cite web | url=www.cwla.org/advocacy/whitehouseconf10.ppt | title=White House Conference on Children and Youth: What’s It All About? | publisher=Child Welfare League of America | date=2008 | accessdate=2008-06-18]

In 1950, President Harry S Truman ordered the Federal Security Agency to hold a national conference on aging. The purpose was to assess the policy challenges posed by a changing populace, particularly in light of numerous changes in federal entitlement programs (such as Social Security) which had been enacted during the previous 20 years.

In 1958, Congressman John E. Fogarty introduced legislation calling for a White House Conference on Aging. Congress enacted the "White House Conference on Aging Act" (Public Law 85-908), and the bill was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The law called for a national citizens' forum to focus attention on the problems of older Americans and to make consensus policy recommendations on how to enhance the economic security of this demographic group. A National Advisory Committee for the White House Conference on Aging was formed the same year, with the first "White House" conference held in 1961.

The 1961 White House Conference on Aging was the first to be designated "White House." More than 3,000 people attended the conference, representing nearly 300 organizations. The conference led directly to the passage of the 1961 Social Security amendments, the Senior Citizens Housing Act of 1962, the Community Health Services and Facilities Act, Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act.

Congressional legislation in 1968 directed that another conference be held in 1971. The 4,000 attendees at the 1971 conference recommended more than 193 actions, some of which led directly to the founding of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and the Federal Council on Aging.

Legislation in 1977 led to a 1981 conference, which was attended by 2,000 delegates and was the first to use a quota-like system to ensure that various segments of the population -- such as women, minorities and the disabled -- were sufficiently represented. Ethnic, racial, demographic and others subgroups were also encouraged to hold their own caucuses, seminars and workshops in conjunction with the conference.

Congressional amendments to the Older Americans Act, passed in 1992, led to another conference in 1995. Planning for the 1995 conference was much broader than in the past, but also more conservative. More than 125,000 people participated in more than 1,000 mini-conferences around the country during the two-year planning process. While few new initiatives were proposed, support for existing programs was reaffirmed. Additionally, the 2,200 delegates and 800 observers argued for a shift away from a focus on the aged and toward a policy on "aging."

The Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000 directed that the next conference be held in 2005, and it took place from December 11 to December 14 in Washington, D.C. About 50 recommendations were made, many relating to the transportation needs of the elderly, mental health and overhaul of the Medicare prescription drug benefit. President George W. Bush created controversy among conference attendees by becoming the first president to not address the meeting.Fact|date=June 2008



* Arceneaux, Ivan. "Seniors‚ Transportation Finally Get Attention." "Galveston Daily News." December 19, 2006.
*"History: The WHCoA Conferences." White House Conference on Aging. September 27, 2004. [http://www.whcoa.gov/about/history.asp] accessed January 7, 2007.
*Jaffe, Susan. "Delegates to Conference on Aging Quietly Send Bush a To-Do List." "Cleveland Plain Dealer." September 30, 2006.
*Nohlgren, Stephen. "Medicare Drug Plan Overhaul Demanded; Four-day Aging Conference Opens Without Bush." "Bradenton Herald." December 14, 2005.

External links

* [http://www.whcoa.gov/ White House Conference on Aging]

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