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Aging Care Choice: Now “Paramount”

As the White House Conference on Aging approaches, advocates in the Commonwealth says the nation needs to shift focus to support seniors in their desire to live independently. Credit - Mike Clifford
As the White House Conference on Aging approaches, advocates in the Commonwealth says the nation needs to shift focus to support seniors in their desire to live independently. Credit - Mike Clifford
June 29, 2015

SCITUATE, Mass. – The White House Conference on Aging kicks-off next month, and local advocates say the Commonwealth and the nation need to focus more on the supports seniors need to live independently.

Elise Beaulieu, who chairs the nursing home and social work committee for the National Association of Social Workers in Massachusetts, says the current system simply puts too much emphasis on the medical approach to aging issues.

"This is causing people to sometimes be in a nursing facility longer than they want to be, or be in a nursing facility permanently because there are no other options," she states.

Beaulieu says the whole idea of moving care to multiple locations and having choice is now paramount. She took part in a New England panel that is making recommendations for next month's White House Conference on Aging.

Barbara Salvatore, co-chair of Engaging New Hampshire, says there is broad agreement on the need to change focus.

"We frame our policy around people being sick, people being ill,” she points out. “And we have shied away from looking at our broader community to see how it can be supportive of all of us regardless of age."

Salvatore says policies need to include and reflect older voices. She calls for a re-branding of the so-called silver tsunami.

"Which is now called the silver reservoir,” she explains. “Wisdom of experience, many positive attributes that older Americans can continue to provide."

The White House Conference on Aging gets underway on July 13.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA