2015 White House Conference on Aging

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Nora Super and others at Listening Sessions 2014

12. June 2015 13:28
by WHCOA Blog Contributor

Telling the Great American Story

12. June 2015 13:28 by WHCOA Blog Contributor | 1 Comments

By Paulette Aniskoff, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement

Stories form the fabric of who we are — they inspire us to be better people, help us find common ground through shared experience, and remind us where we came from. Storytelling is an art that connects generations. That’s why the White House Conference on Aging and StoryCorps are working together to help older Americans document and share their stories.

To get things started, StoryCorps pulled together an inspiring set of interviews featuring older Americans from their archives. The stories are those of sweetness and sorrow, laughter and tears.

  • Sisters Priya Morganstern and Bhavani Jaroff interview their father, Ken Morganstern, about what it’s like to live with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Frank Curre recalls the attack on Pearl Harbor, memories he says are tattooed on his soul.
  • Bobbi Cote-Whitacre tells the story of the joyous day she was finally able to marry her wife, Sandi.
  • Betty Jenkins, 94, tells a story about the early days of commercial air travel and a wardrobe malfunction at 30,000 feet.

Stories are timeless and can be enjoyed by generations to come.

In celebration of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, I encourage you to interview somebody from a different generation. Interview an older adult, or somebody who is making a difference for older Americans in your community. This year, we are celebrating the 50th anniversaries of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. Tell us about the difference these programs have made in your life or the lives of your family, friends and neighbors. All of these stories together are patches in the quilt that is the great American story.

You can use the StoryCorps app to record your interview, then post it on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #WHCOA.

To record an interview using the StoryCorps app:

  1. Visit https://storycorps.me/ and download the free public beta mobile app from the iTunes store (Apple users) or Google Play store (Android users).
  2. Choose your interview partner.
  3. Use the question generator in the app to plan your interview. The generator contains questions on a variety of topics – including grandparents, family heritage, remembering a loved one, love and relationships. It also allows you to write your own questions.
  4. Record the interview using the app on your phone, which serves as a digital facilitator that will guide you through the process of preparation, recording, and archiving your conversation.
  5. Tag recordings with general keyword “WHCOA” (for White House Conference on Aging).
  6. Upload your recording to StoryCorps to be archived in the Library of Congress.
  7. Share your recording on Twitter and Facebook using the #WHCOA hashtag.

For more information about recording your interview, visit the StoryCorps.me website. To listen to stories of older Americans selected from the StoryCorps archives, visit http://StoryCorps.org/WHCOA.

You can also share your story on the White House Conference on Aging website. We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for your interest in commenting on this blog. At this time, we are no longer accepting comments. If you are still interested in sharing your thoughts, please e-mail them to info@whaging.gov.

Comments (1) -

Elder abuse should be posted on TV and the internet, just like the danger of smoking.
I often hear "tales" of a neighbor with a suspicious "friend", or concerns about family members. I have yet to meet anyone who tells me that they took action.

Technology is beyond most vulnerable adults presently- in a few generations, possibly. But it is also a potential source of exploitation, just as mail and phones are now.

HUD housing buildings should be educating residents to signs of vulnerability. There buildings are home to elderly folks, often with low resources, and usually unaware of available assistance.  Property management companies vary WIDELY in their commitment to care about the residents. Some discourage reporting of problems. True Story: A local section 8 HUD building manager so seriously pushed the point that she did not want anyone "interfering with others" that a client of mine, who was fairly independent fell in her bathroom Friday night, and was stuck on the floor with door closed. She ultimately died from the accident with in three weeks, having been left there ALL weekend, unable to even roll to a different position.  The newspapers collected Sat, Sun, Mon,  On Monday around lunchtime, a neighbor finally told the office. I was not called (although listed as the HCS and emergency contact,) until 4:30pm, when I was told she was being taken out in an ambulance. Teaching the neighbors to "mind their own business" was deadly, in that case.

HUD housing Management could partner with qualified FBI checked, and state registered guardians to get a "second opinion" on whether an individual may be considered vulnerable. I personally have witnessed a number of situations in HUD housing where adult children were exploiting or neglecting their parents; OR situations where folks with no relatives or close friends were simply declining in place,  alone in their apartments, and suffering  due to dementia and self neglect. HUD housing units frequently allow extremely dysfunctional situations -for fear of being "in the news" for  upholding fire codes with hoarders, etc.  Because I have had the privilege as a registered and respected guardian in my community, I have been able to meet some folks who needed services (usually at rates 50% or more below the standard) and get them set up with available services, complete applications for Medicaid care assistance or VA benefits of which these folks are often unaware.  

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