President Barack Obama hosted the 2015 White House Conference on Aging on July 13. With adults aged 65 and above projected to comprise 20 percent of the United States population by 2030, the conference examined issues of importance to the future of older Americans, their families and caregivers.
Elder justice was in the spotlight at the conference, which took place nearly a month after World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15. Aging opens adults up to a number of vulnerabilities, such as physical and psychological abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
According to the White House, a 2010 study revealed that one in 10 older Americans experienced abuse in the previous year. While programs and services such as the National Center for Elder Abuse are available for elderly adults seeking help, policymakers play a key role in raising awareness about elder abuse and working towards prevention.
The conference has taken place each decade since the 1960s to discuss how to improve the quality of life for older Americans. Some of the topics that will be addressed include retirement and financial security, healthy aging, long-term support and elder justice.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicaid, Medicare and the Older Americans Act. Such governmental programs contribute to providing Americans with peace of mind as they age. Older Americans also need access to a well-placed caregiving network, adequate housing and financial security to maintain healthy, independent lifestyles in their old age.
The Obama Administration has participated in listening sessions since July 2014 to learn from aging leaders and older Americans about the key issues that need to be addressed at the conference.