For Immediate Release
July 15, 2015 (Washington, D.C.) – On July 13, Lutheran Services in America (LSA) President and CEO Charlotte Haberaecker represented the LSA network at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA). This invitation only, once-a-decade forum took place at the White House, and brought together nearly 200 aging policy experts, thought leaders, Administration officials, and Members of Congress to discuss the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans over the next ten years. LSA is the largest faith-based group serving older adults in the United States, representing close to 200 Lutheran social ministry organizations that provide care for seniors.
President Obama participated in the WHCOA, addressing attendees in the East Room. During his remarks, President Obama referenced this year's 50th anniversaries of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as 80 years of Social Security, noting "In this anniversary of those incredible achievements, we need to recommit ourselves to finishing the work that earlier generations began-- make sure this is a country that remains one where no matter who you are or where you started off, you're treated with dignity, your hard work is rewarded, your contributions are valued, you have a shot to achieve your dreams whatever your age."
Several of President Obama's Cabinet members also joined in the daylong forum, including Secretary Robert A. McDonald, US Department of Veterans Affairs; Secretary Sylvia Burwell, US Department of Health and Human Services; Secretary Tom Perez, US Department of Labor; and Secretary Tom Vilscack, US Department of Agriculture. Other key federal officials headlining the event were Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General; Director Richard Cordray, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Kathy Greenlee, Administrator for the Administration of Community Living within the US Department of Health and Human Services; and Nora Super, Executive Director of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.
"As one of the largest networks of health and human services providers in the country, our members help older adults live more independent, healthy, and secure lives every day," said Haberaecker. "More than two-thirds of our members provide services to seniors, and nearly 20% of the senior residential living units among the top 100 non-profit senior providers in the country are our members, making LSA the largest faith-based group serving older adults today. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in Monday's conference. We look forward to continuing our work to advance policies that improve the lives of older adults, their families, and their caregivers."
Monday's event was part of a year-long, White House-led effort to engage stakeholders across the country. Throughout 2015, the WHCOA held a series of regional forums, which were designed to facilitate input and idea sharing among local, state, and federal aging partners. Five LSA member organizations took part in the forums, including Mark Pile, President and CEO of Diakon; Larry Bradshaw, President and CEO of National Lutheran Communities & Services; Pat Savage, President and CEO of Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries; Roxanne Jenkins, Associate Vice President of Older Adult Services at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota; Bill Serr, President and CEO of Graceworks Lutheran Services; and Judy Budi, Vice President of Residential Care, Graceworks Lutheran Services.
The regional forums were co-sponsored with AARP, and co-planned with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO), a coalition of more than 70 of the nation's leading aging organizations, including LSA. Participation in the forums was by invitation only.
In celebration of the 2015 WHCOA, LSA compiled four inspiring senior service stories that illustrate how our members transform the lives of those they serve. Visit the LSA website at www.lutheranservices.org/WHCOA to learn how Diakon, Graceworks Lutheran Services, Lutheran Services Florida, and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota help older adults stay healthy, safe, and independent.
The WHCOA 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 issue areas: ensuring retirement security; promoting healthy aging; providing long-term services and supports; and preventing elder financial exploitation, physical abuse, and neglect. Additional information on WHCOA activities can be found at www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov.
About Lutheran Services in America: Lutheran Services in America (LSA) is one of the largest health and human services networks in the country with more than 300 members that provide a broad range of critical services from health care to children and family services, senior services, disaster relief, refugee services, disability support, housing, and employment support, among others. Collectively, LSA members serve 1 in 50 Americans each year in thousands of communities across the United States and are open to all regardless of their religious affiliation or social or economic background. LSA is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, please visit www.lutheranservices.org.