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Seniors Asked to Speak Up

August 25, 2005

County Executive Andy Spano wants to know what is most important to seniors: More affordable health care or housing? Preserving Social Security? Reducing disparities in health care? Finding new transportation options? Saving for retirement or long-term care?

Those issues are just a few of the 97 recommendations or “resolutions” identified by Westchester advocates and included in an on-line survey by the Department of Senior Programs and Services. Poll results will go to Washington D.C. to help shape national aging policy as part of the 2005 White House Conference on Aging. Residents are invited to vote on the issues they care most about.

“I urge everyone to log on to our website and take this very important survey,” Spano said. “There is strength in numbers and your voice will help policy makers in Washington develop an effective aging policy that will affect us all. This is a rare chance to be heard around the nation.”

The survey is the culmination of the Westchester County Pre-White House Conference on Aging project. A year ago, 18 caucuses were assigned the task of coming up with priority issues affecting seniors and baby boomers as well as suggestions for improvement. The caucus members, who came from businesses, faith-based institutions, service providers, public and private entities, educational institutions and professional organizations, held a series of conferences and programs to help identify the needs and concerns.

The result was a total of 97 resolutions – a number which was pared down to 47 by caucus vote and recently forwarded for consideration to a national policy committee in Washington D.C. The resolutions include all of the following categories:

  • Caregiving
  • Diversity
  • Elder Abuse
  • Employment
  • Financial Security
  • Health & Wellness
  • Housing Options
  • Intergenerational Relationships
  • Intergovernmental Policy Issues
  • Long-Term Care, Benefits, Services and Financing
  • Mental Health
  • Transportation
  • Women

The last phase is to poll the general public and forward those results to Washington as well.

“The 21st Century is destined to be an exciting era,” noted Mae Carpenter, commissioner of the Department of Senior Programs and Services. “We must prepare by developing unique and innovative strategies aimed at ensuring seniors and their families maintain a good quality of life.”

The White House Conference on Aging occurs once a decade to make aging policy recommendations to the President and Congress and develop recommendations for additional research and action in the field of aging. Each conference has had a major impact on national aging policies.

In Westchester, the final event is still to come. “The Future of Aging is Now: Lead, Empower and Advocate for Effective Policies (LEAP)” will take place on Friday, September 23 from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hilton Rye Town in Rye Brook. The event, which will recap the countywide project, will feature keynote speaker U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and many other dynamic experts in the field of aging.

For more information or to find out how to register for the conference, please call the Department of Senior Programs and Services at (914) 813-6406 or visit


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