Good day ladies and gentleman, and welcome to the Great Lakes ADA Center, How the ADA Impacts Seniors Conference Call. At this time, all participants are on a listen only mode. Later, we will connect a question and answer session and instructions will follow at that time. If anyone should require operator assistance during today''s conference, please press star, then zero on your touch tone telephone. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded, and I like to introduce your host for today''s presentation, Mr. Peter Berg. Sir, you may begin.
Thank you very much Operator. Greetings to everyone, and welcome to the monthly ADA audio conference session, I am speaking to you from somewhat soggy Chicago, Illinois. I heard this morning on the radio that a week ago, 64% of the country was covered by snow and that today, that number is down to 32%, so we''re -- for those of you in the colder regions, we''re slowly making our way towards a -- towards spring. So, welcome to everyone. The ADA audio conference is a project of the National ADA Network, also known as DBTAC, Disability Business Technical Assistant Centers. And the National Network of ADA Centers are funded by the U.S. Department of Education National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research. You can contact your regional ADA center at any time by visiting adata.org or by calling 1-800-949-4232. So, again, welcome to all of you. We haven''t had a session in a while. We did not have one in December. January''s was postponed and now here we are in February, with a fabulous topic that I think is very fascinating and interesting, and I think all of you are going to find it interesting as well. Today, we''re going to take a look at how the ADA impacts seniors, and why is it an interesting topic? Well, the vast number of citizens who are part of the Baby Boom Generation, and as that Baby Boom Generation ages you know, they''re going to have -- the ADA is going to have an impact on them and on the services that they attempt to access and employment that they are looking to continue to have. We are pleased to have with us today, Dr. Robbyn Wacker as our featured speaker on today''s topic. She is the PhD and Assistant Vice President of research, for the Gerontology Department at the University of Northern Colorado. You can view Robbyn''s entire information on the ADA audio website at www.ada-audio.org, that is where you will find information about all of our speakers as well as information about upcoming sessions and the archives of past sessions. And just a final reminder that today''s session is being recorded and that there will be an audio archive, as well as a text archive available approximately two weeks following the session, as today''s session in addition to being recorded is also being captioned. So without further adieu and no more information from me, I would like to turn it over to Robbyn.
Great. Thank you. Sure.
Wait. I''m sorry -- I''m sorry Robbyn, one second. Okay one second here. We had a problem with our captioners. Their platform is frozen. Operator, if you can bring the -- bring the captioner in the -- into the private session for a moment and I apologize folks, we will be right back as soon as we get this straightened out. All right, sorry about that, I apologize. We had some technical difficulties with our Real-Time captioning, and we didn''t want to move forward if we didn''t have access for all of our participants. So again, I apologize. For those of you using Real-Time, the text captioning, if you could go back to your session materials page within the audio conference website and refresh that page, refresh the URL and then click on join the text captioning and you will have access to the captioning and then we are also sending that information out by email for other folks. So again, I apologize for the technical difficulties and our late start but again, real quickly, today''s session is brought to you by the ADA National Network, How the ADA Impacts Seniors and we''re pleased to be joined by our speaker today, Dr. Robbyn Wacker from the University of Northern Colorado. Let''s try this again, Robbyn.
Okay, great. It''s technical right? It''s technology. [Laugh]
No problem. Well, welcome everyone to the audio conference. I should you tell that I am sitting out here in Colorado, where it is sunny, and I think it''s going to be close to 60 degrees today. So I feel a little you know, a little bit -- oh, guilty about that, but we''ll try to get through it because I know you all had a pretty rough winter so far. So, but anyway, when I was approached to talk a little bit about this topic and have a conversation with you all today, I was really thrilled and glad to do so. You know, this topic is really new particularly, to those of us in Gerontology in particular and really in terms of how the ADA is a factor in the lives of older adults and there really hasn''t been a whole lot I think over the last 10 years to really bring this issue to the forefront, but as you all know, and we''ll talk a little bit about today, the landscape is changing. The intersection between the ADA and aging really will become more visible in the coming years, and really more of an issue on a number of fronts I think. And so today, I''m really pleased to have this conversation with you and as Peter mentioned, we will try to break this up in a couple of different segments, so that you can ask questions and we can have perhaps the conversation as best as we can. I have been on an audio conference where on the receiving end of that and I know sometimes it''s hard to you know, to follow but I''d like to continue the conversation over the course of the time that I have with you here this afternoon. So what I hope to do is just give you a very brief overview of some of the issues and circumstances that I see relative to this intersection between ADA and seniors but of course, in an hour and 20 minutes or so, it''s really difficult to really get too much in depth of the topic but, hopefully it will be enough to spur some conversation and some additional inquiry on everybody''s part and we can hopefully learn from each other as we move forward. So with regard to what I hope to present today, let me give you just a little bit of the overview. I want to spend just a brief time to just cover some of the basic demographics of what will be happening and actually is happening now with our population, as it relates to its aging demographic and how that is changing. I thought I would spend a little bit of time talking about the aging network. I''m not sure how many people in the audience are familiar with what that is and how they operate and ultimately, when we end the conversation today to talk about how we can maybe develop more partnerships with the folks in the aging network. And then spend some time in kind of a third piece of the presentation today, talking about this intersection between age and disability in the ADA, and of course that could be an entire class for an entire semester just that topic, but I thought it would slice out maybe two things that might peak your interest and might be a value to you today in this conversation. And one is about employment and accommodation issues and the second is really about the broader notion of community and a new sort of approach that over the last five years has gotten a lot of conversation and that is, the idea of promoting livable communities, which would of course be a valuable perspective for both of the populations that we all deal with. And then maybe end on a positive note; think about opportunities for the future. So again, we''ll take questions at various intervals here so that we can have somewhat of a conversation and [sound of paper turning] would love to hear from you all as well. So, the third slide that we have here is just an overview snapshot of the aging population and this slide represents people over the age of 65 and you can see [Laugh] way back in the year 2000, which seems like eons ago. But not that long ago about 12% of the population was over age 65 and that represented about almost 35 million people. Currently, we''re hovering somewhere around 40 million, which represents about 13% of the population and in a very short period of time, that will jump to 20% and some 71 million older adults. So you can see that the trajectory is starting to really rapidly increase over the next couple of decades and one piece I don''t have on this particular slide is that by year 2050, the number of older adults will have doubled from the year 2000. So we''re going to see this huge increase in the number and in the percent of older adults. Some of you may have seen in the lay press that statistic, I think AARP put it out about -- that start on January 1, 2011. Some 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 18 years as they move into later life. And, as Peter mentioned, that that''s really going to change the landscape I think in terms of Human Services and other areas that we all work in. So I''d like to say they''re coming, you know, here they come, and so it will definitely change the landscape. Now when you look at the growth rate on slide four of America''s aging population, I thought this would be interesting to show you because it really puts it up relative to the overall growth rate of the United States population. So the first column represent the years 2001 to 2010 and you can see that the growth rate overall of the U.S. population is somewhere around 8% and that growth rate of older adults, over the age of 65, will be somewhere around 13% and you can see the market change in the growth rate in the next decade here, between the years 2010 and 2020. So you could see the overall U.S. population is kind of holding steady about 8% over the next -- over the next 20 years whereas the percent growth rate of people over the age of 65 is going to shoot up to 35% and then 30% in the coming decades. So again, we''ll have the rate of growth will also be quite steep with regards to the number of older adults. The fifth line I have here is now looking at the percent of older adults, 65 plus with disabilities, and a disability in these days is defined as an impairment in one or more instrumental or functional activities of daily living. And so what this chart shows is that we''ve got a kind of two segments of disabilities represented here. Moderate disability, which is two or few -- two or fewer impairments and severe disability, is really three or more impairments. And again this looks at the percentage of older adults to that population and what percent of that population would have a severe or moderate disability. And you can see in 2000 there was about 30% of older adults that had either moderate or severe disabilities and there''s been a bit of a decline in that percentage over the next 20 years from the year 2000 to 2020 and then it will begin to gradually as we move out beyond into the year 2030 and 2040 and part of the uptake in the number of people with severe or moderate disabilities in later life really has to do again with the increase in the number of older adults, the Baby Boomers, they are going to hit later life in the years 2030 and 2040. So we do have -- we will have -- get a higher percent of older adults with disabilities coming our way over the next couple of decades. In slide six, this is a representation of older adults with disabilities as a percent of the population aged 25 to 64. And, this, again, is the number of older adults with an ADL or IADL limitation disability relative to the younger population and this chart again just sort of demonstrates again that we are going to see a very steady increase in the percent of older adults relative to the younger population that will have a severe or moderate disability. So one of the things, of course that is kind of interesting about this and that we''ll talk a little later is the notion of aging and functional capacity. And this like -- this chart number seven, I thought is really kind of an interesting graphic that demonstrates this trajectory between aging and functional capacity. And you know, for most as we start out in early life, our functional capacity with regards to our ventilator capacity, muscular strength, cardiovascular output and so on, of course typically increases and peaks early in adult life and not to be somewhat discouraging, but of course [Laugh] there -- there is some decline in functional capacity as we begin to enter midlife, and over-ages. And of course, the amount of functional ability into the range of functional ability in individuals, of course we know can be moderated with exercise and healthy nutrition and so on. But what''s interesting, I think about this, is that there will be a certain percent of individuals whose range of function will drop below this disability threshold and that there will be folks that will enter -- later life. And, in gerontology we think about these people as young old for example, the people that are 55 to 65 years of age that in fact, could possibly reach that disability threshold sooner than others, and certainly as we get older, there is the increased possibility that in fact, there will be a reduction and function that will cause us to sort of get across this disability threshold. So again, all of this is to basically say, that we have an increase in the number of older adults, the growth rate will be pretty quick, fairly rapid in terms of that percent and what''s going to be interesting is looking at the functional capacity and the rate of disability in this particular age group as we move forward. So before I segue into talking about the aging network, I''d be happy just to hear some thoughts or conversations about this change. Perhaps, some of you have actually seen some change in the demographics of the clientele that you''re working with. So I''d be interested to hear any comments or take questions at this point.
Operator, if you could come back on and instruct people on how they can ask questions. We have people participating via three different modes today. We have participants on telephone, we have people who are joining us via audio streaming through their computers and then individuals who are accessing the event through Real-Time text captioning through their computers; but if you could give instructions for those on telephone on how they could ask a question at this point.
Ladies and gentleman, if you have a question or comment at this time, please press star then one on your telephone keypad. If your question has been answered or you wish to remove yourself from the cue, simply press the pound key. Again, if you have a question or comment at this time, please press star then one on your telephone keypad.
-- a question slash comment submitted from someone using the audio streaming and you talked about an increase as well as the number of individuals with severe disabilities and their comment slash question was: Improvement increases in technologies and the role that that has and you know, expanded life and also you know, individuals with disabilities with better treatment in technologies are living longer than, than they have previously.
Yes. I think if I understand the question, comment about the technologies and how certain technologies have really improved the quality of life and the functioning of older adults is -- I think is truly remarkable and there''s so much potential for that as well. And I think probably one of the interesting areas in the field is trying to connect older adults with the technologies that really can improve their quality of life and have them feel comfortable in using those technologies, getting access to them, but indeed, I mean I think that certainly, the more we can get older adults connected and feeling comfortable with those technologies, the better the quality of life and certainly. I think in some instances, can expand longevity and not only just increase the number of years we live but increase the quality of those years that we have. So excellent point, I think that''s a whole area that we could explore.
Just a quick follow-up also that getting you know seniors -- older citizens in touch with programs and like you said the technologies that may decrease the secondary and tertiary complications caused by disability, you know, improving quality of life as well.
Yes, exactly. Assisted technology you know can be a really big player in that, and I think currently perhaps there''s a real untapped approach at this point.
All right. Operator, do we have any questions at this point?
I''m sure there are no audio questions at this time sir.
All right. Why don''t we go ahead and move on Robbyn and if we get you know, additional questions after you start up again, we can take them when we pause a second time.
Sounds great. What I''d like to do is sort of transition a little bit, into just a very quick overview of the Older American''s Act and the aging network as it''s -- as it is called. It''s an important piece of legislation that was passed in 1965 and it created what I''ll explain in just a second in more detail this notion of this aging network, which is designed to coordinate our approach and advocacy to meet the needs of older adults primarily in a community-based setting. And it does fund a variety of different community-based programs that are supposed to promote the health, wellness and social integration of older adults. So I thought I would just briefly explain a little bit about that in hopes that maybe it''s information that perhaps you are not aware of it at this point. The Older American''s Act and this shouldn''t surprise those of you working in the Human Services field is, the Older American''s Act is divided in a number of different titles and I am skipping Title One, which talks about the glossy goals of the act but the next title, Title Two really sets up this network of regional, local as well as federal structures to advocate on behalf of older adults. So there is an Administration on Aging at the federal level. At the regional level, there are regional divisions of the Administration on Aging. And probably most important to the audience here, there are local area Agencies on Aging, that are established that are responsible for implementing the programs that are funded under the act and these are the folks that are out there assessing the needs of older adults in the community, trying to partner with other agencies. And I think, for me, one of the values of the Older American''s Act is really that coordinating body. Local area Agencies on Aging directors are really trying to work within their communities and to partner and if you think about something that''s as complicated as transportation, in providing transportation services to all the populations that really need access to good quality transportation, and that you have area agency directors trying to partner and work with other -- other entities in the community, it''s just incredibly invaluable just to have that approach of trying to work with others in the community. So Title III then is really what people call the heart of the act. It provides funding for community-based programs. And just to name a few, you probably heard of these, nutrition programs, both congregate and home-delivered meal programs, there are adult day programs. There are also a number of health and wellness services including mental health support that are provided to older adults. There''s a great deal of interest and effort in providing information and referral services, which also include access to programs and services through case management, single entry point programs. Older American''s Act also has funding for in-home services, homemaker, home repair, accessibility issues is also something that they try to fund where they can, the home and community-based services to partner with social services to assist older adults and their ability to remain at home and avoid institutionalization if it''s all possible. Gosh, there are senior centers that the Act supports and so -- also I should mention volunteer programs like maybe a sort of RCP programs and also support for caregivers. So there''s a lot that is funded and happening with regards to Title III, and of course it varies slightly by community because, those local area Agency on Aging directors are to assess what are the needs of older adults in the community and then tailor somewhat what''s available. So there''s a lot out there to support older adults. Title IV, which I''m not going to mention here but exist, there''s a research and demonstration arm of the Act that is out there doing some interesting things relative to researching issues that domains older adults. The Title V is a community service employment programs for older adults that provides employment for low-income individuals and these are for people over the age of 55 and they receive a small wage salary for work in the community and they work generally part time. The Title VI represents grants for Native Americans and so many of the programs that I mentioned earlier in the Title Three or the Heart of the Act, are -- those funds are given to Native American tribes and then they ascertain what would be appropriate for Native Americans in their tribal regions. So Native Americans have their support through Title VI. And, then, finally Title VII is where the support is made for vulnerable elder rights protection and that includes programs to prevent elder abuse. We have long-term care ombudsman programs to protect the rights of individuals in nursing home and other institutional placement areas and also legal assistance programs for older adults that that''s available too. So as you can see, the Act really does provide a wide variety of support and services for older adults in any given community. Of course, you know people working in that field will tell you that it''s just a small amount of federal funds that gets spread across an entire country but, you know, in any particular community or service; you can generally find service and support. I have family in the little town of Mackay, Idaho. It''s like 500 people south of Pocatello and there is a two-room senior center there that provides these congregator or nutrition meal for the -- 25 -- I think 500 people, 25% of that population are older adults and that meal program ends up in Mackay, Idaho once a week. So you do find the tentacles of the Older Americans Act out in rural and urban areas alike. So before I slide into issues of the intersection between aging and disability, anybody has a question about this particular segment, I''d be happy to take that.
Operator, if you could come back on again and give folks instructions on how they can ask a question at this point please.
Once again ladies and gentleman if you have a question or comment at this time, please press star then one on your telephone keypad. Our first question or comment comes from the line of Abby Kidd, your line is open.
Hi. We would like to know if Dr. Wacker can define the age cut-off between adult and older age.
Sure. Generally speaking, older age is usually referred to as 65 and over and depending on the program, it may go as low as 55 and plus but generally speaking when folks are talking about older adults, the referent point is age 65 and over.
Again ladies and gentleman, if you have a question or comment at this time, please press star then one on your telephone keypad.
There was a question that was submitted electronically, Robbyn. What -- they want to know what federal agency provides the funding for the federal law and which federal agency is it -- is you know, housed within the federal agency?
Oh, right, yes. The Administration on Aging is under the Department of Health and Human Services, right and at the federal level and so the funding -- the funding and the structure -- organizational structures under that particular branch of the federal government; but of course, the director of the Administration on Aging at the federal level also is connected with the Federal Transportation Administration to work on transportation issues, the folks, the USDA to work on congregate meal programs and other programs. So there is a bit of a dotted line that that person has to reach across and outside of Health and Human Services areas, well but that structurally, that''s the federal agency under which it lives.
Okay, that that touches what -- your second part there touches on another question that was submitted on, you know how the federal government or what the federal government was doing to coordinate services and things that the director is reaching out to other federal agencies. This person also wanted to know if you have any examples of best practices that have come out of the funding that has gone down to the local levels, best practices that may be extended or something applied as the Baby Boom Generation ages, and we see an increase in the number of seniors?
Yes. I will take sort of the first one about coordinating. The Director of the Administration on Aging as well as the regional and local folks, all have to put together plans of the kinds of programs and services that they think are relevant to their particular situation and community. So at the -- I believe the federal legislation, the Older American''s Act mandates that the Director of the Administration on Aging really does coordinate with other federal agencies to partner and to try to work together in meeting some of the needs of older adults. So it''s imbedded in their plan on how they have to respond each. I think that each year, they have to put together in their budget what they''re planning on doing in terms of partnering and coordinating. Tell me if -- you could repeat the one on best practices for me?
The person wanted to know if there was -- if you had any examples of best practices that have come out of the funding at the local levels. Practices that might be used that can be expanded upon as the population of seniors increases with the aging of the Baby Boom Generation?
That''s a great question and I think that that''s really where I hope we can go in the future. There are some really innovative things in different areas with regards to, for example transportation, to legal services, the housing. They''re trying to reach across and partner with the Human Services folks with regards to that. I mentioned transportation; there have been some programs that have partnered to try to come up with more affordable transportation using taxi services and some other kinds of programs to try to meet those needs. Transportation is a big one, I''m trying to think I if can come up with a particular one. When I was working in the legal services areas when we looked at abuse and neglect, you know we had a coalition of people that represented and were advocates for a number of different community-based populations. And certainly, that issue one that cuts across all populations and having people connected and coordinated with regards to issues of abuse and neglect were also helpful. Maybe what I can do Peter is send a couple of good examples maybe your way after the session, and show you some good examples of that but...
But the biggest one that sticks in my mind is transportation, accessibility -- transportation is a huge, huge issue for a number of populations and I think that''s really one area where I''d be happy to share with you some things that are going on in other communities.
That would be great. We could make that available with the archive materials. Operator, do we have any other questions.
We have a follow up from the line of Abby Kidd, your line is open.
We were wondering if access to the programs that you''ve mentioned previously is based on income.
Ah! Excellent question. Yes. The answer to that is no. Interestingly enough, the Older American''s Act has eligibility set at 65 and, or 60 and older, which is a little bit different from what I mentioned before, but when you''re talking about Older American''s Act program, the age of eligibility is 60. Now in the Act though it does specifically direct folks involved in the delivery of these programs to meet those with severe income and social needs. So anyone for example over the age of 60 can go to a congregate meal location and pay the suggested donation. Legal services if you''re over the age of 60, you''re eligible for those programs except that the legal services programs will limit the cases that they take so that it meets the needs of very low income and perhaps socially disadvantaged. But that''s one of the things that has been an interesting conversation over the years about the Older American''s Act and it was very intentional, not to be of services and the advocacy for older adults wasn''t to be directed only towards those that met a certain income threshold, that it was about the quality of life and providing support for older adults as a whole but of course over the years as funding is reduced and there''s a conversation about "Well, should we be providing all of these services at no cost to older adults?" There has been some movement in asking for donations, asking for -- for example the meals program that I mentioned earlier, if there''s somebody that cannot afford the suggested donation of that meal, they''re not to be turned away but, there will be made fairly visible the suggested donation for the meal you know, is $4 and people are encouraged and often times, I think that they have to show that they want to contribute something. Because there is also a sense of pride of not necessarily wanting a hand-out, but that people want to make a donation. So it''s an interesting act in that it was not based on any kind of income criteria but, as I mentioned over the years, we''re sort of seeing a little bit of a change in philosophy about that. But the folks in the aging network are generally speaking, at least that the national level, are fairly adamant I think or against really sort of means testing any of the programs that I mentioned. Good question.
Now, I had another question submitted online Robbyn regarding the aging network and they wanted to know at the local level, is the funding for the aging network going to the county and local government agencies as well as you know, a mix of non-profit organizations or where do you see that funding going at the local level?
Yes, so the funding -- so the administration builds the budget and the funding for these programs is distributed to state by the percent of older adults. So it''s a formulaic piece based on that. So as the funds then roll to the local agencies, it depends most of the structures of these local area Agencies on Aging. Some are connected with the county government, so for example, in our county it''s associated with the wealth county so our Area Agency on Aging is under the offices of our wealth county government. In Wyoming for example, a little bit different. They have a kind of a stand-alone setup. So it''s going to vary by locations, but generally, the funds then will come from the federal government to the region and then to the states, which then distribute it down to the local office areas Agency on Aging, which all again are based on the formula on the number of older adults living in that particular region. And then the local area Agencies on Aging put together, sort of a plan for their budget and the funds that they''re requesting. Then the delivery of the programs that I mentioned earlier are oftentimes, I guess we could say outsourced. The local area Agencies on Aging will put out an RFP. So again in our local community, we have a fabulous program here at the university in terms of the culinary [chuckle] quality here at the university is quite remarkable, much different than when I was an under-graduate here. But anyway, they -- they do -- do have won the RFP to provide the meals and so they partner with the local area Agency on Aging to deliver those home-delivered meals and create those meals. Local area Agencies on Aging usually are not the entity that actually delivers the service. It usually is contracted out to another non-profit or other entity in the community to provide those services. So you can follow the flow of funds that are given from the budget process at the federal level, from the administration on aging down into these different regions, states and then local communities.
Very good. Why don''t we go ahead and move on with your third piece of the presentation, and then we''ll have time at the end to take questions on anything that folks want to ask.
Okay great, thank you. So let''s talk a little bit about this merging intersection between ADA and older adults and talk a bit about sort of employment in older adults and a couple of things that I wanted to mentioned again, I touched on it a tiny bit at the outset, but you know is really -- this topic is really kind of uncharted territory, and certainly not on the radar necessarily of folks in the aging network for sure. You know when I was starting to prepare for this conversation today, and began to do some research, and looking at what''s been written and what''s out there in the conversation, I have to tell you there''s really not much there relative to kind of a national voice about thinking about this. So we''re - we''re really - we''re really at an interesting point in our history about thinking about how these two things intersect, and you know, for someone like me that''s been in the field of Gerontology most of my professional career, we were always focused on, you know, the Age Discrimination And Employment Act, which you may know is really protecting age discrimination for people 40 and over, which[Laugh] -- yeah, when you move past 40, it''s interesting to know that you''re now covered by the Age Discrimination Employment Act. Anyway, we really haven''t necessarily got the notion of disability and when we did, we really had maybe a more traditional notion of a person with a disability or someone with an impairment from birth or an accident or something maybe more traditional in our minds about that. So now that we''re moving into this expanded notion and I think one of the authors that I reviewed, talked about this notion of aging into disability where people are acquiring disability throughout the normal aging process and again it could be musculoskeletal conditions, visual and hearing impairments, heart disease and so on and so forth. So now that we''re [Background Laugh] beginning to sort of think or maybe wrap our brain around this notion of aging and disability, of course, the implication will be, that more older adults will be covered under ADA. So in thinking again about our first topic on this intersection about employment and older adults, we know from the data that more people over 55 are working than in the past. You know, there was a pretty steady decline, oh, probably right around the time that Social Security was enacted that people started to sort of retire around age [Crosstalk] and so we do know that now we''re starting to see a bit more ...
I''m sorry. Operator, do we have a line open?
I will mute the lines, sir.
All right, thanks. Go ahead Robbyn.
No worries. So we''re beginning to see that more older adults there''s an uptick and the number of people over age 55 that are working. And some recent surveys found that older adults are telling us that they are planning on working longer. I think it was an AARP study where seven in ten plan to work past the age of 65, which is really pretty -- you know an opposite trend of what we''ve seen in the past. And in that particular study, half said that they expect to work well into their 70''s and this phenomenon sort of reminds me of my own mother who worked for gosh, 35, 38 years in a school district. And you know she basically, wanted to continue to work well into her 70''s and she''s a good example I think of maybe why people -- why we''re beginning to see this trend and of course for her, it was meaningful engagement. I mean she wanted to be involved, she wanted to feel like she was doing something of value every day and there was real intrinsic value in her job and what she was doing. Other reasons maybe for the shift of course, is financial need, and a couple things might be happening of course with the terrible downturn that we''ve seen in the economy has really made retirement something that folks don''t really necessarily are able to do how they thought they would, that they would work and retire at 65 and with the erosions of pension funds and other things that''s really changed the landscape. But, also, too -- one of the demographic things that I didn''t mention is that we know that woman live longer than men in later life, and there are many women who need to continue to work as well as some others, particularly older adults of color that really need, that don''t necessarily have a strong financial base as they move into later life and really must continue to work. So I think we have all of these different sorts of things going on, people are living longer, some of which are wanting to continue to be engaged and work so we have that happening. So I think that again we''re going to see these Baby Boomers moving and wanting to continue to be employed, and as you all probably know better than I do, we have this the Title One of ADA that covers this employment and reasonable accommodation. And the guess here is that it''s going to cover more individuals and thinking about having to define what is the physical impairment that substantially limits one''s major life activities, and how might that play out for somebody who''s in their 70''s that maybe, wants to continue to work but have this physical impairment and trying to figure out you know, how the measurement for an impairment and all the legal things that probably the audience is really more familiar with than I am but, it''s really clear that more older adults are going to be probably falling under this particular law with regards to -- well, you know, what does a -- how are the courts going to define physical and mental impairments with regard to older adults and also in terms of the limits in a major life activity. How will this really play itself out because in fact as these people maybe need to have assistance and just being able to do their job with regards to some of the minor accommodations in work and thinking about it? And I have to say in thinking about this issue as a gerontologist, again, I sort of want to make the note that I''m not sure that when older adults encounter these issues or see themselves as maybe having difficulty with arthritic hands or not being able to continue to work in the manner that they have before, are not necessarily thinking about the ADA as a place to turn, as a legislation to turn to think about asking for and seeking accommodations. So it''s -- I think it''s going to be incredibly interesting to see how the courts will see these whole issue of aging and disability, and how we as practitioners and folks in our various fields begin to kind of think about what this is going to mean, because we -- you know, we certainly have older adults that are wanting to remain engaged and simply need accommodations to do so. So I''m just not sure, I''ll be interested to see what the audience thinks about this but, I''m just not sure that older adults would see themselves necessarily as being disabled, as a person with a disability in which the ADA would cover and support some -- their request to have an accommodation made so they can continue to work. With regards to, of course the public accommodation in Titles Two and Three, again I think many folks are aware of the kinds of things available there with regards to structural accessibility, ramps and signage and so on but again, how will that play out for older adults? I have noticed again that using -- I don''t think my mom would mind, I talk about my mom -- but using a walker and just the difficulties that she has just getting in and out of places, places of business, gaining access to certain things. It has certainly become an eye opener for me to see that in fact, that we can take advantage of some of these structural changes but, there are certainly some things that again, are there that accommodations and things that are still need to be made again perhaps as more older adults are expecting to be involved and full participants in these goods and services. You know modifications to policies, practices and procedures, how might that play itself out with regards to older adults as they begin to want to access certain things as well you know, providing aids and services. Again, it''s probably not so much that these things will be different for older adults but in fact -- they might be fundamentally maybe slightly different for older adults as they present in later life with this notion of aging and to disability, but it will be that there will be certainly more older adults that will want to be able to be full participants in, and I think that it will certainly change the dynamic of what is being done under these different titles and how courts and other folks or other advocates are seeing this intersection. So this be -- we would love to break at this point and maybe hear comments or questions about this intersection.
[Background noise] Operator, if you want to go ahead and give folks instructions one more time on how they can ask questions at this point.
Yes sir. Once again ladies and gentleman, if you have a question or comment at this time, please press star then one on your telephone keypad.
And before we go to the questions out there, Robbyn, since you spoke about your mother -- a quick note -- a quick story about my own mother -- they''re going to bring this up that you know, the Baby Boom and older generation may not identify as having a disability. My mother is 75, has lost all hearing in one of her ears and significant hearing loss in her other ear and recently the city where we both reside did a needs assessment survey for people with disabilities and for the heck of it, I had one sent out to her and she couldn''t of had it out of her mailbox and looked at it for more than 15 seconds before she was on the phone calling me at my office and telling me that you know, this wasn''t for her. It was all about me. Because [Background Laugh] you know, if you talk to her for 20 seconds, she will tell you about her blind disabled son, but that''s a perfect example whether an employment setting, for employers you know, still needing to be able to recognize reasonable accommodation requests from their older employees or you know, a state or local government entity or a business, you know recognizing requests from senior citizens that may have disabilities that aren''t going to say "I have a disability" or they are not going to be calling the ADA along with their request.
[Chuckle] That''s a great example. It reminds me, you know my grandfather who is 90 and I was visiting with him and I said "Hey, you know why don''t we go down stairs in your building here and let''s play some pool. Why not let''s do something" and he said "Well, I don''t want to go down there with those old people" [laughter] and I was like "You''re 90." So I think you''re right Peter. I think it''s going to be a really interesting sort of self-perception and how people sort of think about that.
All right. Operator, do we have a question out there at this point?
We do have a question and from the line of Mr. [Inaudible] from Ohio State University, your line is open.
Yes. My question is, earlier you were talking about the threshold of the ages 65 and up and a lot of social and political planners are now pushing that up to 67 or thereabouts. So I guess my question is, can you give me any insight on why they are pick -- taking 67 not higher and it''s kind of like for Social Security to be eligible at 60. You''ve probably heard this kind of thinking and I know it''s the agenda, it''s a political agenda but it''s also a planning agenda relative to the benefits that you''re eluding to here and probably it has to do with your intersection question too because of the possible issues of sustaining "elderly people at work".
Right, right, right, exactly. You know, it is an interesting observation isn''t it that this age is kind of shifting, I think part of it you''re right. I think you alluded to it a bit there that the Social Security age of retirement will be creeping up over the next few years and 67 is certainly kind of being looked at in the future as sort of an age of retirement versus being age 65. So I think that''s driving a lot of the conversation nationally about -- well, let''s be thinking now about age 67 not 65. And, part of that, too, you''ll hear people sort of talk a bit about well you know when we were thinking about and fill in the blanks, Social Security, other kinds of benefit, we really weren''t thinking that you know, older adults were going to be living well into their 80''s. So, they would say it just make sense demographically to shift that now older but of course it''s much more complicated than that and there are certain groups of people, some populations of older adults that have -- that are -- that struggle with much more limitations and disabilities in their later life and low income and other challenges and as we begin to sort of be sort of our social planning to continue to push that out. Someone should suggest that there is, in fact other kinds of -- oh you know perspectives or agendas about how much federal dollars should be used to support older adults and it''s going to be a very interesting I think conversation to think about that. I guess one of the things that I like to talk about, or that troubles me about this sort of general notion of well, people are living longer and they''re living and they''re healthier. Let''s move it up to age 67, there are those many, many older adults that are marginalized with regard to their functional ability, their income and other things in that shift and really thinking about all the federal legislation and other programs and services in using age 67 kind of as a marker will I think be devastating to older adults of color, to women and other sub-populations. But I do think also that creep -- that uptake in the age of eligibility for Social Security is kind of where that''s being driven by that conversation.
You were mentioning earlier about -- you referenced the definition of disability and within the next few months, we should have new regulations out from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on the definition of disability out of the amendments -- the ADA Amendments Act. So, obviously, the courts will have a role in interpreting you know, physical and mental impairments for those individuals as they -- you know like you mentioned for several reasons are staying in the work for as longer downturn in the economy -- you know an increase in the retirement age. And, again, that''s an issue where employers really need to be educated and educating their frontline supervisors and staff and like [inaudible] my comment question -- you know, just like with anyone with a disability, accommodations aren''t always real costly, but if you could just give some general examples of some accommodations for you know, older individuals, the types of impairments or -- that you may see, just general examples of some accommodations that may be used in the workplace that would allow someone to continue working instead of you know, having to retire.
I think as you mentioned Peter the accommodations can be pretty inexpensive and easily handled and thinking about again so much of our workforce is sedentary and computer work and we know -- this won''t come to be a surprise to probably anybody in the audience but simply making accommodations in the work stations. And again for older adults when you think about one''s ability to manipulate a mouse - mice, [Laugh] I guess, a computer mouse and a keyboard and just other sorts of basic things are -- I mean I know that that isn''t any big "Aha" probably for anyone in the audience, but again, I don''t know that we''re really thinking about that with regard to older workers. So when you think about musculoskeletal kinds of impairments and how that might make sitting for a long period of time difficult and so giving people breaks to be able to adjust seating and get up and move around and to have breaks from constant sitting because, of the pain of arthritis or other issues. So being able to have time-outs and breaks from that, adjusting the work station and you know with changes in visions with older adults, you know the glare and other kinds of things can be easily accommodated at work stations oftentimes. You know, hearing is another common issue, and you mention that with your mom as well. Those things can be -- really can be accommodated relatively easily. So I think about things with regard to sort of mobility issues, ability to sit and sustain sitting for long periods of time, being able to manipulate the technology that the different people use in an environment are all probably things that I would see that -- you''re right that employers really could be keyed into and really make some changes. One thing I should mention too that I just thought about is that, you know the data shows that older workers are pretty darn reliable with regards to showing up for work, and not having life events that maybe take them out of the workforce for a while. There''s a perception out there that older workers are -- they''re too expensive, that they really can''t learn new things and they really kind of drain on the workforce. But, in fact, in terms of absenteeism and other kinds of things, when you''re 25 and 30, you probably have life things happening and oftentimes, you move -- you may be moving frequently. And, for many older adults, they don''t have those same kinds of issues competing for their workforce time, workplace time. So it''s just really kind of also getting employers to understand that older workers are valuable and making some minor accommodations for folks in the long run is of course a positive thing I think for businesses, employers and employees alike.
Right and just the wealth of knowledge and experience that you have with older workers that are able to share that with the younger portion of the workforce as well.
Yeah, it''s true. My mom, I just wanted to comment about that. You know, I remember when my mom was still working and they were moving to computers if you can imagine a time before computers on everybody''s desk. And of course there were people in her office that basically said "Well, I just don''t want to -- I really don''t want to take the time to learn this" and she was probably close to 70 at that time and said "Yes. Show me how it works. I want to learn now" and she was instant messaging me you know, after a few months of learning the computer. So I think -- I think, as you all know, stereotypes can be fairly damaging and oftentimes incorrect.
Right, absolutely. Operator, do we have another question out there please.
We do sir. Our next question and comment comes from the line of your line is open.
I have one quick question before I go, and it is concerning extended care for elderly people. What kind of accommodations as far as age and skill and technology does the ADA and the age of plan to do in the future?
What does the ADA? Was that the question?
Right and the age of plan to do for people who are elderly and disabled as far as technology like Hoyer lifts and gait belts and things like that, how do they plan to improve it? And do they have a plan to match like an elderly person with an appropriate person of age or would that not be appropriate?
That''s a really good question and I''m hopeful I might -- I can answer that. I might not be able to specifically, but I do know, that this is where that intersection between -- you know providing support services through programs and services for people with disabilities again crossover and intersect with older adults and with regard to attendant care and other kinds of technology that you mentioned, as an older adult may qualify for home services maybe under the Older American''s Act, there could very well be a partnership or an examination or access to some services about that. But I have to be honest with you, I''m not sure that we''re really thinking that those programs and services in the community that are geared towards older adult are really sort of pondering and thinking about how to address those particular needs through the programs and services that live in the aging network. So I think you raise a good point and I''m not sure that I really have a good answer for you at this point.
Do they plan on addressing things like that in the future?
Well, I mean, I think one way or another, there will have to be some kind of a realization of the changing landscape and that there should be a conversation about how to address these needs and I''m not sure if they''re happening in the aging network per se. But, one of things that we''ll conclude with today and talk about it is how these two sort of areas can partner together to think about how are we going to meet these needs and address the things that you''re talking about because, I think that you really raise a good point. It''s really all about quality of life and the kinds of things that people need on a day-to-day basis to have a good quality of life and somehow or another, I think the aging network and the disability network needs to figure out that to make sure that we''re meeting those needs.
Okay thank you.
Thanks for your question, and that brings up a good point, Robbyn, about providing services in the community versus in an institutional type of setting and just from a cost perspective and you know how much cheaper it is to provide services in the community and to allow people to remain you know within their community given the proper resources and support.
Right, absolutely, absolutely. Well, I guess why don''t I go ahead and finish with these last few slides...
And, then, we''ll be able to have some time left for any final questions for folks. One of the things that I like to just do personally is to sort of think about the so what question and what next and what do we do and this is all great information but, you know, what can we do as people that work with these population that we''re trying to improve quality life of and then so on. And I kind of like to think of things -- my brain sort of works at different and I think about things at different levels. We have the notion of community, we have the notion of agencies and organizations and then we have the notion of the actual individual and one of the things that I think is really going to be maybe key for those of us these fields is the notion of promoting livable communities. And on slide 12, this is kind of a depiction of the six components that have been sort of put out there and you can see the British spelling of neighborhood there but, the idea is that if we can partner and promote a vision of livable communities because you can see the six elements there in terms of housing, the built environment, social inclusion, services and so on that if we can create well-designed living environments in which residents of all ages is available and not -- and don''t exclude people by a virtue of their age or physical or cognitive ability and so on, that that''s really sort of a universal approach to -- on how we might be able to improve quality of life for the populations that we work with. And some of the components you can see there on slide 13, that we maybe can all work towards the notion that we have livable communities and neighborhoods that we could sustain, that would be offering a good quality of life to all generations and abilities that really address issues of accessibility, inclusiveness, that are esthetically pleasing and safe and accessible and offers plenty of services and facilities in open space. And it''s the community, maybe, where we can all be working together for better outcome and addresses the challenges that you all probably deal with and helping your clientele in terms of housing, in transportations and other sorts of basic quality of life issues, and you know, it''s kind of sounds sort of theoretical and pie in the sky but, it has a lot of appeal I think in that you know, it''s sort of universal in my sense in that if we can create communities where everyone has the option and opportunity for -- to access programs and services and feel like they''re an inclusive part of the community, that would be super. You know, one of the things that strikes me about some of the cities in Europe -- done a little bit of comparison of different programs and services in different countries, and what strikes me is the sense of sort of community and that people are connected and older adults for example living in residential areas that are right in the heart of places where schools are there and children are there and grocery stores and other community resources are within walking distances. It''s really an interesting idea to kind of think about I guess. So the other piece too, is I would hope that on this last slide -- almost the last slide, slide 14, one of the things that I know I''ll be working in my -- with my colleagues and thinking about trying to partner with each other and certainly for folks in the audience in terms of hoping that I''ve pictured in just a little bit and reaching out to your colleagues in the aging network and vice versa and really begin a conversation much like this one, in thinking about how do we intersect and how can we partner and work together. And certainly the critical nature of working with businesses and the non-profit sector and in alerting them to the issues that will be coming forward with regards to the Baby Boom population and some of the accommodations and things that we need to be thinking of so that people can age in place and have a good quality of life. And finally, we touched on this a little bit, those of you that maybe might begin working with older adults and sort of understanding the social and psychological needs of an aging population and what that''s like and again the notion that we''ve talked about of "Well, that''s not for me, I''m not disabled" or "Well, that''s not for me, I''m not really old." [Chuckle] It''s really kind of an interesting notion that again in allowing people to be -- the freedom or to see themselves as not a particular category person but somebody that we''re trying to help be engaged in the community and live a good quality of life. And it''s not necessarily about a label or that we''re labeling to something, to try to get people to really see that they do have ways and mechanisms to be engaged, and to really participate in a good quality of life. And the ADA certainly is a legislation that really can be helpful in helping older adults and the boomers as we move forward. So the last slide there is just some kind of an interesting quote from the communities and local governments that I found from a UK site, that I thought was really a great way to sort of end. "Independence alone is not enough if we want to improve the quality of life of older people and tackle exclusion. Everyone including older people has the right to participate, and continue throughout their life, having meaningful relationships involved and older people play a role and responsibilities to help build social capital will become ever more apparent in our society ages". So I thought that that was a great quote to end on, and then finally, if you are interested in learning more about community resources, my colleague Dr. Roberto and I have a textbook that we use when we teach about community resources for older adults that really goes in more detail about the aging network that we talked about. And if you''re interested in general about learning more about aging and older adults, Quadagno has a really great introductory text and you are probably familiar with the ADA Commission on Law and Aging website as well, as the National Senior Citizen Law Center that has good resources as well. So with that I''ll stop and see if we have any final questions. So thank you all very much for hanging in there with me.
All right, thanks Robbyn. Operator, one last time instructions, we have a few minutes before the bottom of the hour to get some more questions in.
Once again ladies and gentleman if you have a question or comment at this time, please star then one on your telephone keypad.
And while we''re waiting for our next question, Robbyn, I think you mentioned that -- I had another question submitted electronically and talked about -- it''s a comment, just talking about the need for you know national coordination between the aging -- agency serving the aging population and individuals with disabilities in terms of you know, coordination and services in identifying the needs of this growing population over the next coming years. Simply, from one aspect of a financial resources aspect as you know Medicare is one of the larger segments of the federal budget and like one of the callers had talked about providing services for seniors with disabilities. Obviously, the needs are going to increase over the next few years. So maximizing resources is going to be really important.
Yeah, I really agree and that''s why philosophically, I think partnering at the federal level, really thinking about -- intentionally how are we going to do that and how can we do that in a more cost-effective way, and also in a way that may have better outcomes for the population that we''re serving. I think we will read the really important dialogue that I hope it will be happening soon.
Right. And that''s where perhaps at the local level -- if at the local level, you know the agencies between the disability and agencies begin to dialogue and can help develop some best practices that can be incorporated at a larger scale down the line might be very effective.
Yes, I think so too. I mean really drastic change where it happens at the local level, you get people you know getting together and having a vision about what we can do and how we can really leverage each other''s strength and abilities and making a positive change would be great.
Operator, do we have a question there for us?
We do. From the line of Ohio State University, your line is open.
Hi again. This question is along the same lines. If the current budget proposal speaks to return domestic welfare funding to Eisenhower administration level in the Older American''s Act received funding after the Eisenhower administration, what are prospects for funding for the Older American''s Act?
Oh boy, that''s a good question. I did -- I had not looked at the most recent Obama budget and what''s happening, but you know, I know that obviously there''s going to be a serious dialogue about that. The Older American''s Act funding has been relatively flat for the last 10 years, and I don''t know off the top of my head what it is, but I know that the percent increases have been relatively minor with the exception of maybe the last couple of years and with the exception of maybe some initiative with regards for people with Alzheimer''s and some others kinds of issues. So I really think Abby, I think over the years, what we see and this probably isn''t a surprise to most folks here in the conference today is that, it''s likely that the budget will remain flat, perhaps maybe even be reduced. And, typically, where they focused those reductions within that Title Four that I mentioned about research and demonstration projects, the nutrition and other programs oftentimes don''t get the severe kinds of cuts that we have but, it will be challenging once I again I think to figure out how to continue to meet the needs of this growing population and at the same time, have a reduction and the sort of the social safety net of people that are being served by the Act so boy stay tuned right, it''s going to be definitely interesting.
All right. As they leave the workforce and go on to their retirement years, I guess that one thing you said it''s a large voting segment [Background Laugh] so that may have an impact.
That''s right but, it''s again why I''m such a big fan of trying to figure out how we can coordinate because if you think about it, you know you have people in the Human Services area that address certain segments of the population whether it''s children, whether it''s person with disabilities, older adults and we''re all sort of after the very small shrinking pie and I think that''s why I''m kind of thinking about how can we collaborate, coordinate, work together because you know that really funding for Human Services in general over the last 50, 30, 40 years has terrible swings up and down and really it''s maybe calling upon us to thing about a different paradigm of partnership maybe.
Right, all right, Operator, do we have one last question we can get in before the bottom of the other.
There are no additional audio questions at this time, sir.
All right, thank you. Well, as we are nearing the bottom of the hour, Robbyn I just want to not only thank you for the great presentation, discussion and dialogue today but just your time and efforts in preparing the presentation today. It was fabulous. So thank you very much for -- for joining us today. For any of you that have follow-up questions, you can always access -- contact your regional ADA center by calling 1-800-949-4232 or by visiting www.adata.org. We look forward to you joining us on March 15th for our next audio conference session: Ins and Outs of Conducting Self-Evaluations for Title Two Entities. You can get additional information on that session and registration information and we will have additional information about that March session up on the website very soon but you can visit www.ada-audio.org or you can contact us at 877-232-1990. The audio archive as well as the transcript of today''s session will be posted to the ADA audio website in approximately two business weeks. So again, I want to thank our speaker today Robbyn and I want to thank all of you for participating. We look forward to having all of you back here with us very soon and hope all of you stay warm and dry as we weather out the remainder of winter. Thank you and have a great afternoon.
Thank you, Peter.
Ladies and gentleman thank you for participating in today''s conference. This concludes the program. You may now disconnect. Everyone have a wonderful day.