SENIOR POWER: Conferences on Aging

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday February 23, 2012 - 05:16:00 PM

A White House Conference is a national meeting sponsored by the Executive Office of the President of the United States with the purpose of discussing a topic of importance to the American public, and they are typically created by specific legislation. Some conferences last for a day, others for several. Typical attendees include experts in the particular field, community leaders, advocates and citizens with an interest in the issue. The President usually speaks to a conference general session. The conference concludes by issuing a report to the President summarizing and making recommendations for executive or legislative action. The First Lady has sometimes hosted White House conferences. The first White House conference was the Conference on the Care of Dependent Children held in 1909 under President Theodore Roosevelt

The most well-known is the White House Conference on Aging, which has occurred once a decade since the 1950s. The 2005 White House Conference on Aging -- held December 11-14 in Washington, D. C. -- was authorized by the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000 (P.L. 106-501). Like its predecessors, its purpose was to make recommendations to the President and Congress to help guide national aging policies for the next ten years and beyond. Its theme was “The Booming Dynamics of Aging: From Awareness to Action. ” It focused on the aging of today and tomorrow, including 78 million baby boomers who began to turn 60 in January 2006. 

Approximately 1,200 delegates were selected by Governors, members of Congress, the National Congress of Americans Indians and the Conference’s Policy Committee. Delegates voted on 50 resolutions they considered as priorities and worked to recommend innovative solutions reflecting actions that might be taken by federal, state and local governments, tribal organizations, business and industry, communities, and individuals to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of an aging nation.  

The top two resolutions adopted by the delegates were the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act and the development of a coordinated and comprehensive long term care strategy. The reauthorization of the Older Americans Act occurred in 2006 and included provisions that support the development of a national long term care strategy for our nation. 

Three of the major issues that were not dealt with by delegates to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging are end-of-life decisions, lifelong learning, and drawing on the wisdom of elders.  

Will the next White House Conference on Aging be held in 2015? I wonder… 

It was Congressional Representative Bella Savitsky Abzug (1920-1998) (D-NY), who said, “The inside operation of Congress—the deals, the compromises, the selling out, the co-opting, the unprincipled manipulating, the self-serving career-building—is a story of such monumental decadence that I believe if people find out about it they will demand an end to it.”  



Shingles! There’s news that the UK’s senior citizens are unable to get the vaccine. “Shortage of shingles vaccine delays jabs for elderly." The only doses available are by private prescription. Government advisers said in 2010 that all people aged 70 to 79 should be offered the jab against the painful condition, writes Rebecca Smith. (Daily Telegraph [London], Feb. 18, 2012).  

One of the horrible things about chicken pox/shingles/herpes zoster is that one may also get post-herpetic neuralgia. Having had this affliction, I spent several years trying to get “a shot” (the Brits’ “jab”), and finally managed to get my primary care M.D. do the deed!  

Older adults who receive the herpes zoster vaccine are less likely to have complications from shingles. Adults age 60+ should receive the herpes zoster vaccine as part of routine medical care. it is possible to get shingles after the vaccine but the vaccine has been shown to lessen the intensity, duration and pain related to the outbreak.  

Herpes zoster vaccine is available; it differs from chickenpox vaccine. 


SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. SAGEWorks is now open in 2 new locations: SAGE of the Desert in Palm Springs, California and SAGE Philadelphia. SAGEWorks provides essential skills training and job search support that helps LGBT older people ages 40+ remain competitive in the modern workplace. Visit 

SAGE also offers national telephone support groups for LGBT older adults and their caregivers. Facilitated by social workers, the LGBT older adult group and the caregiver group are safe, confidential and nurturing spaces to gain support and advice. For more info, and to join either group, contact Amanda Umhoefer. Mail to : Subject=National%20LGBT%20Support%20Group


"Stanford (University) study: Valley pension costs outpace spending for schools, public safety," by Kurtis Alexander (Fresno Bee, Feb. 22, 2012). 

"Bid to Halt SD (San Diego) Pension Measure Fails," by Gene Cubbison (NBC Channel 7 TV [San Diego] News, Feb. 21, 2012). 

"Even after (San Francisco) pension reform, costs will surge in coming years," by Joshua Sabatini (San Francisco Examiner, Feb. 22, 2012). 

"Pension plans underfunded in Kern County" (KGET Channel 17 TV News [Bakersfield], Feb. 21, 2012). 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Be sure to confirm. Readers are welcome to share by email news of future events and deadlines that may interest boomers, seniors and elders. Daytime, free, and Bay Area events preferred.  

Current-March 4, 2012. STAGEBRIDGE presents the World Premiere of Counter Attack!, a new play by Joan Holden, starring Joan Mankin as an aging waitress who discovers that her lifelong position is suddenly under attack. Inspired by Candacy Taylor¹s 2009 book, Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress. The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley. For show times and to reserve tickets: or 510-444-4755 x114. 

Current-March 30. “Berkeley Women Vote: Celebrating California Suffrage 1911-2011.” An Exhibit at the Berkeley History Center, 1931 Center Street. 510-848-0181. 

Friday, Feb. 24. 9 A.M.-4 P.M. Annual convention. United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County. 510-729-0852. 

Friday, Feb. 24. 12:15 – 1 P.M. Chamber Music in C Major. Noon concert. Music Dept. event. Hertz Concert Hall: Mozart: String Quintet No. 3 in C major, K.515. Michael Hwang, Michaela Nachtigall, violins. Sally Jang, Melissa Panlasigui, violas. Cindy Hickox, cello. Beethoven: String Quartet in C major, op. 59 no. 3. Vivian Hou, Jason Wu, violins. Marissa Sakoda, viola. Michael Tan, cello. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864. 

Sunday, February 26. Global Call to Participate in 5 Minutes of Prayerful Silence On the eve of the opening of the 56th Session of the UN-Commission on the Status of Women, Women of all spiritual traditions are invited to join in prayer and silence, to hold in their hearts the hopes of those who come to the CSW: for homes and a world without violence and fear, where there will be good food, air and water, education and medical care, for women's empowerment and gender equality, for consciousness, voice and choice, for circles with a sacred center to support the wisdom and courage of women in them, and for there to be a UN 5th World Conference on Women. 

Tuesday, Feb. 28. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. Low Income Assistance. A representative from the Health Insurance Counseling Advocacy Program (HICAP) will provide an overview on getting help with health care costs including the Medicare program, Medi-Cal, SSI, Medicare Savings Programs, and Low Income Subsidy (extra help) for prescription drugs. The eligibility and application process will be reviewed. Sign up in the office or 510-747-7506. 

Wednesday, Feb. 29. 12:15-1 P.M. Gospel Chorus, Old Made New: Free Noon Concert Series. UC, B Music Dept. Highlights - University Gospel Chorus, D. Mark Wilson, director. Old Songs in New Clothes: Old hymns given new life and meaning in contemporary compositions by African American composers. 510-642-4864 

Wednesday, Feb. 29. 7:00 PM. Kensington Library Book Club. 61 Arlington Av. February's book is The Trial by Franz Kafka. The book group alternates classic and contemporary literature on a monthly basis. Each meeting starts with a poem selected and read by a member. 510-524-3043.  


Thursday, March 1. 10 A.M. Computers for Beginners. Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. 

Friday, March 2. 12:15-1 P.M. UC,B Dept. of Music students perform chamber music. Free. Hertz Concert Hall. 510-642-4864. 

Tuesday, March 6. 1 P.M. Mastick Book Club. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave. , Alameda. Book Club members will review House Rules by Jodi Picoult. 510-747-7506. 

Wednesday, March 7. 12:15-1 P.M. University Wind Ensemble: Robert Calonico, drector Ron Nelson: Savannah River Holiday, Vaughan Williams: English Folk Song Suite 1. March: Seventeen Come Sunday 2. Intermezzo: My Bonny Boy 3. March: Folk Songs from Somerset Morten Lauridsen/arr. H. Robert Reynolds: O Magnum Mysterium Steven Bryant: Stampede Henry Fillmore/arr. Loras Schissel: Lassus Trombone. Hertz Concert Hall. Free. 510-642-4864. 

Wednesdays, March 7 and 14. 9 A.M. – 1 P.M. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave. , Alameda. AARP Driver Safety Program. Designed for individuals 50+, this 8 hour course is taught in 2, 4-hour sessions over a 2-day period. Preregistration required; cost is $12 per person for AARP members, $14 non-AARP members. Registration payable by check ONLY, made payable to AARP. Sign up in the Mastick Office. 510-747-7506. 

Thursday, March 8. 4:30 P.M. Kensington Library, 61 Arlington Av. eReader Workshop. Please bring your own device and library card to the workshop. Free. No reservations needed. 510-524-3043. See also March 15. 

Thursday, March 8. 6:30 P.M. El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Avenue. Join board certified psychologist Dr. Marshall Zaslove for an evening meditation workshop and interaction. He will base his presentation on the book, Inner and Outer Peace through Meditation, by Rajinder Singh. 510-526-7512. 

Monday, March 12. 7 P.M. Kensington Library, 61 Arlington Avenue. Berkeley Repertory Theatre discussion. A docent from the Berkeley Repertory Theatre will discuss the current production, Moliere’s A Doctor in Spite of Himself, the traditional story of a girl, who feigns illness to avoid an unwanted wedding. Free. 510-524-3043 

Tuesday, March 13. 1:30 P.M. . Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. Douglas Borchert, J.D., SBC, underwriting counsel, columnist, will present “The America’s Cup: Racing the Wind.” Sign up in the Mastick Office or call 510-747-7506. This program is sponsored by the Mastick Senior Center Advisory Board. 

Wednesday, March 14. 12:15-1 P.M. University Baroque Ensemble: 59th Annual Free Noon Concert Series. Hertz Concert Hall. 510-642-4864. 

Thursday, March 15. 4:30 P.M. Kensington Library, 61 Arlington Av. eReader Workshop. Please bring your own device and library card to the workshop. Free. No reservations needed. 510-524-3043. 

Wednesday, March 21. 12:15 – 1 P.M. Noon concert, UC, B. Music Department. Hertz Concert Hall. UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, David Milnes, director. Weber: Bassoon Concerto, Drew Gascon, soloist. Debussy: Nocturnes. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864. 

Friday, March 23. 12:15-1 P.M. Bustan Quartet. Free Noon Concert Series. Lecture/demonstration: Co-sponsored event: Highlights: Hertz Concert Hall. Visiting Israeli group demonstrates their work in crafting new means of musical expression from diverse resources. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.  

Monday, March 26. 7 P.M. Kensington Library, 61 Arlington Av. Book Club.  

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peal Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. Each meeting starts with a poem selected and read by a member with a brief discussion following the reading. New members are always welcome. Free. 510-524-3043. 

Current-March 30. “Berkeley Women Vote: Celebrating California Suffrage 1911-2011.” An Exhibit at the Berkeley History Center, 1931 Center Street. 510-848-0181.