The COVID 19 pandemic has laid bare the disparities in life expectancy, chronic illness, wealth, and health among diverse older adults. Many of our partners—from area agencies on aging and senior centers to community-based organizations—have been on the frontlines of this crisis. Education, awareness, and navigating the difficulties of service delivery and policy advocacy during the last year has been challenging. It’s time to learn from and honor our partners who have paved the way for increased access to services, community healing, and hope—while transforming the aging network along the way. Join a dynamic discussion about the pathway to aging well for all as a matter of social justice and community healing.
COVID changed everything—and it’s not done yet. Through it all, aging services providers have been on the frontlines—reinventing their services, educating and supporting older adults, and now helping with the vaccine rollout. Join the nation’s top health policy leaders to discuss where things stand one year later, and what’s ahead for the pandemic response and vaccine distribution for older adults.
Experts from Aetna, a CVS Health company, working to solve the problem of social isolation among older adults will discuss the importance of a total approach to healthy aging for seniors, including how to stay healthy, connected, and active during COVID-19 and beyond. Good health is not just physical, nor is it attained through a stroke of luck. Our minds and bodies are interconnected. Experts agree that healthy aging requires addressing the needs of the whole person, including the role that social connection can play in one's physical and mental health. Christopher Ciano will lead a panel presentation of senior-level experts from Aetna to cover the three dimensions of total health: body, mind and spirit.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9
Aging in America: To Care for Incarcerated Older Adults
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
By 2030, people aged 55+ will make up one-third of the U.S. prison population. The annual taxpayer burden of incarcerating older inmates is an estimated $16 billion—more than the Department of Education’s budget for state improvements in elementary and secondary schools. Across the country, aging service providers are offering programs inside prisons that connect older inmates to information and resources that provide direct financial incentives to society. Chronic disease management programs reduce the amount of care needed and the cost to taxpayers. Join this examination of work currently underway, the safety nets that may be available as they reintegrate into society, and how a social justice lens can pave the way for solutions.
Cynthia Roseberry, Deputy Director of Policy, Justice Division, ACLU
Lisa C. Barry, Ph.D., M.P.H., UConn Center on Aging
Laura Roan, Program Manager, The Osborne Association
The digital divide has never been a more critical issue than it is now. The COVID-19 pandemic and the need to rely on technology to remain connected while social distancing, has shined a bright spotlight on continued inequities related to digital access in the U.S. For older adults with high-speed internet access, technology solutions ranging from telehealth to food delivery have provided much-needed services this past year. For those who lack this access, those same services have been out of reach. Too many people aged 65+ experience multiple barriers to online access, ranging from digital literacy to affordable, accessible devices and broadband. According to the Pew Research Center, a third of adults aged 65+ report they never use the internet, and almost half lack home broadband. For people of color, the digital divide is even greater. Pew reports 55% of Black older adults do not go online, and 70% do not have broadband at home. Learn more about the foundations of these disparities, how federal policies can expand digital inclusion, and what you can do to help.
To achieve financial stability, many older adults must work beyond their anticipated retirement or return to labor force. But they face challenges. Over the course of their careers, women have earned less than their male counterparts and often have left the workforce because of caregiving demands. Since March 2020, the pandemic drove over 800,000 women out of the workforce as they struggled to balance jobs and caregiving needs. Join partners, experts, and researchers to discuss the state of work for older adults and those who care for them.
The pandemic has made clear that this country would not function without frontline workers and caregivers—those who provide care for the people we love. Caregiving is virtually impossible for one person to do, and still millions of Americans are called upon every year to do so. Paid domestic workers fuel the caregiving workforce without any protections and with low wages. COVID made caregiving even more challenging. What have we learned—and what can we do differently—to support caregivers moving forward?