Earlier in 2015, the White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) launched a series of regional forums to provide input and ideas for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, which will take place on July 13 in Washington, DC. The forums, which are by invitation only, are designed to engage with leaders in the field of aging, older adults, their families, caregivers, and others on key issues affecting older Americans.
To date, five member organizations of the Lutheran Services in America (LSA) network have taken part in the forums, the most recent of which was held in Boston, Massachusetts on May 28. Representing the LSA network at the event were Mark Pile, President and CEO of Diakon and Larry Bradshaw, President and CEO of National Lutheran Communities & Services.
Secretary of the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Burwell gave the keynote address, and the forum also featured remarks from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA). Other key federal government officials headlining the event were Therese McMillian, Acting Federal Transit Administrator; Kathy Greenlee, HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging; Nora Super, Executive Director of the White House Conference on Aging; and Rachel Kaprielian, HHS Regional Health Administrator.
"This is an invaluable opportunity for us to give direct feedback to the Administration on vital issues affecting the millions of seniors who have entrusted their care to us," said Bradshaw. "As the national voice for Lutheran social ministry, the LSA network is in a unique position to comment on the issues that the White House Conference on Aging is designed to address. With two-thirds of our members representing senior services, we can attest first-hand to the sea changes affecting our organizations, and how we can navigate these changes while not losing sight of our missions to care for older adults and their families."
"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, in communities across the country," said LSA’s president and CEO Charlotte 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 such dynamic LSA members in Cleveland and Boston representing the network, and look forward to continued engagement with the White House, AARP, and LCAO in support of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging."
Three member organizations of the Lutheran Services in America (LSA) network were also invited by the White House to attend the last forum, held in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 27, 2015. Representing the LSA network at the Cleveland regional forum were 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 are co-sponsored with AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, 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 is by invitation only.
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 will focus 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. Additional information on Conference activities can be found at www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov.
To learn more about the LSA Senior Services Network, visit: http://www.lutheranservices.org/seniorservices