Video: The White House Conference on Aging


(Video link for mobile)

Every 10 years, the White House convenes a panel of experts, seniors and those who serve them to develop new initiatives for the decade ahead. On Monday, July 13, the event live streamed on, and the panel responded to questions tweeted by viewers, as well as to concerns voiced over the past several months during regional events.

The conference has been held each decade since the 60s, when it resulted in the establishment of Medicare.

This is the first year in which the White House used social media to encourage all Americans to participate. Key topics included retirement security, healthy aging, long-term services and support, and elder justice. A panel addressed the role of technology in the future of aging.

The Basics

Go straight to what interests you

This video is 7.5 hours long. To fast forward to the start of the conference at 30:00 or to the sections you want to watch, drag the time bar button to the right until you see the section that interests you (see below) on the minutes/seconds counter.

youtube - how to advance the video

  • 30:00 Don’t miss the opening remarks by Bernard Nash, who was a delegate to the 1960 conference (he’s now almost 93)
  • 41:52 Panel 1: Caregiving in America. How will we support families and guarantee a protected, paid caregiving workforce to enable us to age in place?
  • 1:52:40 President Obama Delivers Remarks
  • 2:18:12 Panel 2: Planning for Financial Security at Every Age
  • 4:13:25 Armchair discussion about senior hunger with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak and the CEO of Meals on Wheels
  • 4:27:10 Panel 3 (panel includes Diana Nyad): The Power of Intergenerational Connections and Healthy Aging
  • 5:18:30 Panel 4: Empowering All Generations: Elder Justice in the 21st century
  • 6:11:44 Don’t miss this short armchair conversation on universal design with IDEO CEO Tim Brown and 91-year-old designer Barbara Beskind. The focus is on engaging older innovators to design products that work for seniors, and designing with, not for.
  • 6:21.58 Technology and the Future of Aging. The focus is on the intersection of a rapidly aging population and a rapidly developing tech landscape.

Who you’ll hear

Between the panels of experts and leaders in the private sector are remarks by community members, local government officials and senior Administration officials.

A Controversial Conference

This year’s WHCOA was criticized for neglecting some key issues, among them the diversity of seniors and their challenges in today’s America, including LGBT seniors; seniors living in poverty; and the lack of transportation and affordable housing in communities where seniors live. And while policy is clearly the focus of the conference, one blogger, who posts on the blog Midcentury Modern, pointed out in a “Dear White House” letter that “The problem with aging in America is not just a matter of who gets what services…. The problem with aging in America is that we have decided, as a society, that anybody older than us is completely and irredeemably lame.” Read more here

You can also catch up with the conversation that happened as Americans responded via Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #WHCOA. Read what people posted and tweeted on Facebook by clicking here, and on Twitter by clicking here.

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