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NJ seniors and providers have their say!

NJ seniors and providers have their say!

The NJ Foundation for Aging (NJFA) seldom works alone. A recent example of this joint learning and teamwork resulted in the three regional forums in NJ to address the themes of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. NJFA was joined by the NJ County Offices of Disability, NJ Association of Area Agencies on Aging, NJ Association of Senior Center Directors, Association of Jewish Family Service Agencies, NJ State Association of Jewish Federations and AARP. This steering committee coordinated three regional forums to gather consumer and provider input on this year’s themes. The four themes of the 2015 WHCoA are

  • Retirement and Economic Security: Protecting Social Security, Work & Employment, Public Benefits
  • Healthy Aging: Age-Friendly Communities, Preventive Care & Chronic Disease Management, Housing
  • Long-Term Services & Supports: Caregiver Supports, Workforce Capacity, Managed Long-Term Services & Supports
  • Elder Justice: Fraud Protections, Scams, Family Exploitation and Neglect.

More than 218 people registered to join the conversation throughout May and June. Providers, caregivers and seniors alike affiliated with our partners on the steering committee were well positioned to generate recommendations to these important topics.

Advocates’ and stakeholders’ experiences inspired the final recommendations. These included the need for more affordable housing, preservation of Social Security Benefits and the need to promote education on other savings tools, the importance of community transportation to reduce isolation and the key role of more towns age-friendly communities for all. Participants discussed the impact of elder abuse and exploitation which can occur in community settings as well as in facilities.

Recommendations stressed the need to better educate the public as well as first responders to recognize signs of abuse and let them know where to report these crimes.

The first White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) was held in 1961, with subsequent conferences in 1971, 1981, 1995, and 2005. These conferences have been viewed as catalysts for development of national aging policy over the past 50 years. The conferences generated ideas and momentum prompting the establishment of and/or key improvements in many of the programs that represent America’s commitment to older adults and caregivers.

To see the full set of NJ’s recommendations go to www.njfoundationforaging.org/policy-reports

The WHCoA has a website where policy briefings, comments and archive sessions may be viewed. To learn more go to www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov

The New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) is a public charity with the primary goal to empower elders to live in the community with independence and dignity.