A Sense of Purpose, a Time for Advocacy

Article excerpt

Those of us in the ASA community are always on a bit of a high following the Aging in America Conference, and this year is no exception. With more than 3,000 attendees, and set in our nation's capital, this year's Conference-though always an excellent opportunity to expand one's network of friends and colleagues in the field of aging-was a particularly inspiring testament to all the work being done in service to America's elders.

Wrapping up with an especially energizing General Session on baby boomers and their effects on the face of aging, this closing event featured Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, UCLA professor and Aging Today editorial board Chair Fernando Torres-Gil, Age Wave's Ken Dychtwald, columnist Gail Sheehy and UnitedHealthcare's Dr. Rhonda Randall. They put forth a positive vision about how baby boomers will uplift the process of aging. Aging, they feel, can effect what Sheehy called a "renewed sense of purpose."

We'll need to retain that positive purpose, as was pointed out in the Conference's Walmart-sponsored General Session on Hunger in America. Deftly moderated by Joe Quinn, senior director, Issue Management and Strategic Outreach, for Walmart Corporate Affairs, the panelists included Enid Borden, CEO of Meals on Wheels, AARP Foundation president Jo Ann Jenkins, advocate Robert Blancato, Mary Pat Raimondi of the American Dietetic Association and Robert Egger, founder and president of D.C. Central Kitchen. Each offered startling statistics on food insecurity, and showed a great commitment to turning them around.

A Focus on the Fixes

Nutrition, hunger and an onslaught of baby boomers becoming elders. These General Session topics (see our page 1 round-up on these sessions) raise the question: Is America taking care of its elders? For some perspective, this issue of Aging Today offers an In Focus section that looks at hunger, poverty and other social ills in our aging population.

It seems the answer to this question is yes-sometimes. But there is more to be done: education and activism could improve the odds, if we collectively put our minds, hearts and advocacy muscle behind our efforts to make life better for older adults. …