2015 White House Conference on Aging

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

The White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) 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 first of its kind, the goals of the conference are to promote the dignity, health and economic security of older Americans. It has been claimed that it is perhaps the best-known White House conference. The Conference is held once a decade, with the most recent conference held in earlier this month on July 13th at the White House.

iStock_WhiteHouse_PMHistorically, in 1950, President Harry S. Truman ordered the Federal Security Agency to hold the first national conference on aging. The purpose of this initial conference 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) that had been enacted during the previous 20 years. Social Security’s goal was to assist those in need of financial assistance such as the poor, elderly, physically disabled or mentally ill.

In preparation for this decade’s conference, there were five regional conferences around the country purposed to aggregate information and recommendations for the national conference at the White House.

The regional conference took place in

I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to participate n the Cleveland, Ohio regional conference. Take a look at the highlights of the Cleveland WHCoA regional conference. In addition, I wrote a blog recommendation that I’ll share at a later date. From these 5 regional sessions, together with input from other aging leaders and older Americans around the country, common themes were identified and developed into major topic areas. Those topic areas are the following.

Retirement security is a vitally important issue. Financial security in retirement provides essential peace of mind for older Americans, but requires attention during our working lives to ensure that we are well prepared for retirement.

Healthy aging will be all the more important as baby boomers age. As medical advances progress, the opportunities for older Americans to maintain their health and vitality should progress as well and community supports, including housing, are important tools to promote this vitality.

Long-term services and supports remain a priority. Older Americans overwhelmingly prefer to remain independent in the community as they age. They need supports to do so, including a caregiving network and well-supported workforce.

Elder justice is important given that seniors, particularly the oldest older Americans, can be vulnerable to financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect. The Elder Justice Act was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, and we need to realize its vision of protecting seniors from scam artists and others seeking to take advantage of them.

In an era where cooperation in Washington is not very good, I commend President Obama for moving forward and continuing this historically important White House forum. Several Congressional representatives were in attendance throughout the day. With the sheer number of aging Americans, this is a defining time for issues regarding the health and well-being of our seniors to be aired, understood, and appropriately actioned. The entire country is being impacted. The issues of aging are important to every American, not just our elderly citizens.


It is worth noting that just after the WHCoA, the critical and politically contentious, reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (S. 192), was passed by a bipartisan action of the Senate on July 16th. The Older Americans Act of 1965 was the first federal level initiative aimed at providing comprehensive services for older adults. It created the National Aging Network comprising the Administration on Aging on the federal level, State Units on Aging, and Area Agencies on Aging at the local level. The network provides funding – based primarily on the percentage of an area’s population 60 and older – for nutrition and supportive home and community-based services, disease prevention/health promotion services, elder rights programs, the National Family Caregiver Support Program, and the Native American Caregiver Support Program. Since it was enacted into law in 1965, millions of our most vulnerable older Americans have relied on the services provided by the OAA for their health and economic security. These services help older Americans live independently by:

  • Supporting nutrition programs, including Meals-on-Wheels;
  • Providing home and community-based services, including preventive health services and transportation assistance;
  • Assisting family caregivers with information and referral, counseling and respite care;
  • Preventing and detecting elder abuse; and
  • Providing part-time community service employment and training, including the Senior Community Employment Program (SCSEP), which has helped more than 1 million older Americans enter the workforce.

Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act is critical to the health and well-being of millions of our seniors throughout the country. It is my hope that the House will also be led to vote and approve OAA reauthorization before they recess in August. These program are essential to the millions of people who helped to build our country.

I invite you to take a look at the summary of the 2015 WHCoA by accessing the link “2015 White House Conference on Aging“.


National Healthcare Decisions Day & White House Conference on Aging

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®


My most recent newsletter is singularly focused on the subject of Advanced Healthcare Directives. An advance health care directive, also known as living will, personal directive, advance directive, or advance decision, is a legal document in which a person specifies what actionsRisk Management should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity. In my recent newsletter I provide the history of this document and the current generation of what is now often deemed as simply Advanced Directives. Simply request the newsletter in the form below and I’ll have it sent to you.

In presentations to employers, I stress the competitive advantage that companies can attain by including this in their Human Resources benefit offerings. I also talk about how critical of an issue Advanced Healthcare Directives are when it comes to sustaining a high level of productivity within an enterprise. April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day. Please take action to include provisions for employees to have access to this service as a benefit of being employed at your company.


The Wasa_theme_logo[1]hite House Conference on Aging  (WHCOA) 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 has been claimed that it is perhaps the best-known White House conference. The Conference is held once a decade, with the most recent conference held in 2005, in preparation for the retirement of the baby boomer generation.

In July of this year, the White House is convening this decades WHCOA. I’ll be attending planning sessions starting next week when I attend the 2015 Aging In America conference in Chicago. This conference of industry professionals on aging is the annual event sponsored by the American Society on Aging.

iStock_WhiteHouse_PMAdditionally, I’m privileged to have been invited to attend an invitation-only ‘issues forum’ sponsored by the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (BRIA) in April. Our input will be provided to one of only five pre-conference regional forums held around the nation. Fortunately for us in Ohio, the fifth regional meeting has been scheduled in Cleveland for Monday, April 27.

Given the significance of this historic year (50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, the 80th anniversary of Social Security), it is incumbent on aging advocates everywhere to take note of this event, and to ensure that our thoughts about the future of aging and aging services in America are heard.

These are important issues for employers who have to efficiently manage a mufti-generational, increasing diverse workforce. I expect to be sending relevant ‘tweets‘ and blog posts from both the ASA conference and the BRIA issues forum.



Ebola—What to do!

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Because of the severity of the Ebola virus, I am posting this information on each of my blogs.

The re-emergence of the Ebola virus has caused a global health care concern. As of this post, cases of iStock_Ebola_PMEbola here in the United States have caused us to re-examine our overall preparedness with a ‘real-time’ health emergency. It is no surprise that rumors and inaccurate information is running rampant.

Our recommendation for accurate and up to date information, is the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Click on this link, http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html, to learn more about the disease and what you need to know about Ebola.

So what do we do? The CDC has developed quite an extensive checklist for healthcare providers titled, Health Care Provider Preparedness Checklist for Ebola Virus Disease. Although the information is geared mostly to the hospital setting, there is a lot of valuable information that can be used in the workplace setting as well. Under the additional resources section is a link to the Public Health Emergency site where you can register for webinars on the subject and subscribe to stay informed. The CDC checklist can be accessed via the following link:  http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/healthcare-provider-checklist-for-ebola.pdf and the Public Health site via http://www.phe.gov.

If you have employee related questions or are unsure how to handle a specific employee situation, such as: an employee returning from travel abroad, questions about their return to work, or more questions of this nature, consult your attorney. He or she can guide you on appropriate H.R. policy for your state.

Assess Your Company Against the Data!

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

It is thGenerations @ Christmas1ae end of another year and I truly hope it has been a good one for each and every one of you.

First, I’d like to refer you to my blog post from December of 2011 titled Home for the Holiday’s … Gather Critical Information on Your Aging Parents, and my blog post of December 2012, Home for the Holiday’s — Time for an Assessment! I believe that each contain timeless information that you should reference with respect to your aging loved ones. Each of these blogs are less focused on employer/employee issues of lost productivity resulting from the urgency of adult caregiving. Instead, they ask that each of us pay special attention to their older loved ones during this time of the year when family visits are so prevalent.

Secondly, when speaking with employers or writing our newsletters and blogs regarding the +$30 Billion in lost workplace productivity attributed to adult caregiving, I usually provide information based on specific research that I’ve uncovered. I’m closing my last blog post of the year with additional factoids and ask that you examine your workplace accordingly.

UNDERLYING DATA — Sixteen percent of the U.S. civilian non-institutional population age 15 and over (39.6 million people) provided unpaid eldercare in 2011 and 2012.  Eldercare providers are defined as individuals who provide unpaid care to someone age 65 or older who needs help because of a conditioiStock_data_PMn related to aging.

During the 2011–2012 period, 17.4 percent of women provided eldercare, compared with 14.7 percent of men.

The eldercare provider rates for Whites and Blacks were 16.6 percent and 15.8 percent, respectively. For persons of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity (who may be of any race) the rate was 10.4 percent.

Overall, 16.7 percent of workers provided eldercare. Part-time workers did so at a higher rate (18.1 percent) than did full-time workers (16.3 percent); those not employed provided eldercare at a lower rate (15.2 percent).

People without children at home and parents with children age 6 to 17 (and none younger) provided eldercare at higher rates (17.3 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively) than parents with children under age 6 (9.0 percent). Those with a spouse or unmarried partner present provided eldercare at a higher rate (17.3 percent) than those without a spouse or partner present (14.6 percent).

Among persons age 25 and over, those with higher levels of education spent more time caring for those over 65. Among those with a bachelor’s degree and higher, 19.1 percent provided eldercare and among those with some college or associate degree the rate was 18.8 percent. High school graduates and those with less than a high school diploma provided eldercare at lower rates (15.9 percent and 9.0 percent).

Findings from the 2011-12 surveys:

  • Of the 39.6 million eldercare providers in the civilian non-institutional population, the majority (56 percent) were women. Eldercare providers are those who provided unpaid care to someone over the age of 65 who needed help because of a condition related to aging.
  • Individuals ages 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 were the most likely to provide eldercare (23 and 22 percent, respectively), followed by those age 65 and over (16 percent).
  • On a given day, nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of eldercare providers engaged in eldercare. Eldercare providers who were ages 65 and older and those who were not employed were the most likely to provide care on a given day.

Percent of population who were eldercare providers

Thank  you 2013! We trust you found our blog postings informative and actionable. We look forward to working with more employers in 2014 to implement our risk management practices. These practices are designed to minimize workplace lost productivity from employees that have to tend to the eldercare needs of their aging loved ones.

We wish you a great year-end holiday season!

These data are from the American Time Use Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2012 “Aging in America” Conference

by Kevin K. Johnson, CSA

I’m just back from having attended my third “Aging in America” conference. This is an annual conference of thought leaders in the areas of aging, caregiving, and innovative practices and solutions. This year’s conference was held in Washington, D.C. and attended by approximately 3000 professionals and thought leaders in the field of aging.

U.S. Congress

When in Washington, I always try to schedule meetings in advance with the Ohio (my home state) congressional representatives. This trip, the congressional representatives were in meetings on the hill so I met with their senior aides or fellows. Included was Senator Sherrod Brown’s Legislative Fellow, Karon Phillips, Ph.D. (master’s degree in Public Health). I also spoke with an aide to Congresswoman Marsha Fudge. Neither Senator Portman or his aides were available to speak with any of the conference participates from Ohio during the time we had available. Two senior care and senior services discussion topics were:

  • The Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization, and
  • The Community Living Assistance Supports and Services (CLASS) Act

From Wikipedia, The stated purpose of the OAA is to ensure equal opportunity to the fair and free enjoyment of: adequate income in retirement; the best possible physical and mental health services without regard to economic status; suitable housing; restorative and long-term care; opportunity for employment; retirement in health, honor, and dignity; civic, cultural, educational and recreational participation and contribution; efficient community services; immediate benefit from proven research knowledge; freedom, independence, and the exercise of self-determination; and protection against abuse neglect and exploitation.

The CLASS Act would have created a voluntary and public long-term insurance option for employees. In my work, I see this as a major problem that every employee is learning about as they access the care options of their elder loved ones. They then begin to understand that they to, need some sort of long-term insurance coverage for their well-being in their later years. Long-term care insurance is more often that not, left out of discussions with Certified Financial Planners, or tremendously undervalued by employees. However, this lack of planning is extremely back-end loaded for our economy. The costs to all taxpayers due to public services having to provide far costlier non-medical care for retirees is quite a burden that every tax payer shares.

A great many seniors in our country will be severely impacted if OAA is cut much further, or worse yet, totally eliminated. Often referred to as our “Greatest Generation” of Americans, this cohort deserves better as they progress through their later years. Additionally, costs will actually increase if some of these services are stopped. The health of seniors will result in a significant increase in hospital visits and nursing home stays. For example OAA includes nutrition programs including congregate and home delivered “Meals on Wheels”; a stable for many of our seniors.

I was fortunate enough to participate in a policy session and listen to comments on these issues from Senator Sanders (VT), Senator Whitehouse (RI), Senator Kohl (WI), and Senator Blumenthal (CT).

The conference content is always rich. This year included an entire track on my central area of focus; the significant lost revenue that businesses experience resulting from lost productivity due to their employers needing to tend to parental caregiving. (Reference my prior blog postings for quantification).

Education and networking with renown professionals in the field of aging, and the opportunity to speak with and hear from our Congressional representatives once again proved to be an extremely valuable use of my time. I’ll be including some of the content in future posts and giving the companies I work with more information on how valuable and profitable it is for them to support their employees that are caregivers.

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