Washington, DC – Today AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins joined President Barack Obama and hundreds of leaders focused on aging policy at the White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) . The White House Conference on Aging has been held once a decade, beginning in 1961 and is designed to help chart the course of aging policy. The 2015 Conference focused on four areas: ensuring retirement security; promoting healthy aging; providing long-term services and supports; and protecting older Americans from financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect. Earlier this year AARP cosponsored and co-planned with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO), a series of WHCOA regional forums throughout the nation to engage with older Americans, their families, caregivers, leaders in the aging field, and others on the key issues affecting older Americans.
Below are excerpts from AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins’ prepared remarks from the White House:
“If we leave here only addressing the problems without clearly seeing the benefits of longevity—the value of hiring an experienced worker, the solutions that an intergenerational workforce brings, the important social contributions that older Americans make as grandparents, mentors, volunteers—then we have lost ten years of opportunity. Today, because of increased longevity and generally better health, we have opportunities for continued productivity and growth our parents and generations before us never had.”
“Innovative changes in technology, health care and retirement security are helping people to see aging as a time of continued growth, not a long decline into diminishment.”
“Today, I want us to challenge our outdated beliefs about aging and begin the hard work of developing new, innovative solutions that will allow more people to choose how they age. I call this disrupting aging. By disrupting aging, we’re offering a new perspective. We’re giving people the opportunity to embrace aging as something to look forward to; not something to fear; to see it as a period of growth, not decline; to recognize the opportunities, not just the challenges; and, perhaps most importantly, to see themselves and others as contributors to society, not burdens.”
“The 2015 White House Conference on Aging gives us an opportunity to disrupt aging—to empower people to take control of their futures and to age in the way that best suits them. And, it gives us as thought leaders and practitioners a new challenge to permanently fix—not put a band aid on—the problems that have plagued generations. It opens the door to creating innovative solutions that make life better for all people as they age and for building innovative systems that serve the wants and needs of a new generation of Americans.
“While this Conference is about ‘Aging,’ what we’ve come to realize is that it’s really not about aging—it’s about living.”
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org ; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org .