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Alaskans participate in 2005 White House Conference on Aging


December 29, 2005
Thursday AM

Ketchikan, Alaska - Seven Alaskans participated in the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) in Washington D.C. Dec. 11th-15th. White House Conferences on Aging are decennial events designed to make recommendations to the President and Congress on national aging policies for the future.

Ed Zastrow from Ketchikan, Kathleen "Mike" Dalton from Fairbanks, Laraine Derr from Juneau, Elmer Feltz from Wasilla, Gloria McCutcheon and Dr. George Charles from Anchorage, and Pat Branson from Kodiak joined 1200 delegates selected by Governors, Members of Congress, National Congress of American Indians and the WHCOA Policy Committee in the 5th WHCOA and the first in the 21st century.



The 2005 WHCOA has a legislative mandate to focus on the aging of today and tomorrow including the 78 million baby boomers who will begin to turn 60 in January, 2006. For nearly two years, the WHCOA has sought input from a wide array of stakeholders to develop the overarching agenda and plan for the WHCOA.

Delegates voted to select the top 50 resolutions after reviewing a total of 73 resolutions compiled from those submitted from all over the country. (The State of Alaska had submitted 28 resolutions based on input gathered at public forums held across the state.) Delegates then worked in dozens of break-out sessions to create strategies for implementing the top resolutions.

The top resolutions chosen by the delegates include:

  • Reauthorize the Older Americans Act within six months
  • Develop a coordinated, comprehensive long term care strategy
  • Ensure that older Americans have transportation options to retain their independence and mobility
  • Strengthen and improve the Medicaid and Medicare programs for seniors
  • Promote innovative models of non-institutional long term care
  • Improve recognition, assessment and treatment of mental illness and depression among older Americans
  • Support geriatric education and training, and attain adequate numbers of health care personnel in all professions who are skilled, culturally competent and specialized in geriatrics
  • Improve state and locally based integrated delivery systems to meet the 21st century needs of seniors

According to the Alaska Department of Health, delegates worked in dozens of break-out sessions to create strategies for implementing the top 50 resolutions.

A draft report of the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) is scheduled to be released 100 days from the day the conference adjourned on December 14th. A final report will be released in June, 2006 by the White House Conference on Aging Policy Committee.

To learn more about Alaska's resolutions and the many recommendations resulting from Alaska's 2005 "The Future of Aging in Alaska" community forums, visit the Alaska Commission on Aging's website,


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