Planning Underway for 2015 White House Conference on Aging; Connecticut Has 7th Oldest Population

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. It will also be the year when the White House will convene the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. The Conference will be of particular interest in Connecticut, currently the 7th oldest state in the nation based on median age.  The state is undergoing “a permanent and historic transformation in its demographics,” according to the state’s Legislative Commission on Aging (LCA).

The first White House Conference on Aging was held in 1961, with subsequent conferences in 1971, 1981, 1995, and 2005. These conferences have been widely viewed as catalysts for development of aging policy over the past 50 years.

The White House is “fully committed,” to conducting a 2015 conference, and is moving forward developing plans.  Officials intend to seek broad public engagemelogo-WHCOA2015nt and work closely with stakeholders in developing the conference, viewed as “an opportunity to look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade.”

Given the advances in technology and social media in the past decade, the 2015 Conference is expected to use web tools and social media “to encourage as many older Americans as possible to participate,” according to White House officials.

Among the key issues likely to be included are: retirement security; healthy aging; long-term services and supports to help older adults remain in their communities; and preventing financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect of older adults.

According to the Connecticut for Livable Communities report, issued earlier this year by the LCA, the state’s 65 and older population is projected to grow by 57% between 2010 and 2040. During the same period, Connecticut’s 20- to 64-year-old population is projected to grow less than 2%.

“In 2010, there were 4.35 working-age people for each person age 65 and older in Connecticut,” according to the CLCA. “In 2030, there will be only 2.75.”  More than one-third of the Connecticut population is over the age of 50, according to the report, and that proportion continues to rise. Residents born in Connecticut today, the report indicates, can expect to live to be 80.8 years old—the third highest life expectancy in the nation.

Nationally in 2013, there were 44.7 million Americans aged 65 and over and 6 million aged 85 and over.  Over the next 50 years, the number of people aged 65 and older is expected to more than double to 92 million and the number of people aged 85 and older is expected to triple to 18 million.

Among the key areas expected to be highlighted during the Conference, according to the White House website:282f3319af64c02e9f_h7m6bq4iz

  • Retirement security - Financial security in retirement provides essential peace of mind for older Americans, but requires attention during our working lives to ensure that we are well prepared for retirement.
  • Healthy aging will be all the more important as baby boomers age. As medical advances progress, the opportunities for older Americans to maintain their health and vitality should progress as well and community supports, including housing, are important tools to promote this vitality.
  • Long-term services and supports - Older Americans overwhelmingly prefer to remain independent in the community as they age. They need supports to do so, including a caregiving network and well-supported workforce.
  • Elder justice - Seniors, particularly the oldest older Americans, can be vulnerable to financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect. The Elder Justice Act was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, aimed at protecting seniors from scam artists and others seeking to take advantage of them.

In 2013, there were 75.9 million baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) accounting for almost one-quarter of the population. Baby boomers began turning 65 years old in 2011.  Between 1980 and 2013, the centenarian population more than doubled from 32,194 in 1980 to 67,347 in 2013.

Between 1990 and 2013, the labor force participation rate of people age 65 and over increased from 12% to 19%.  Among the population age 65 and over, there are 128 women for every 100 men. At age 85 and over this ratio increases to 196 women for every 100 men.

Earlier this year, Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council, announced that Nora Super will be leading this effort as the Executive Director of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting: White House Conference on Aging, 200 Independence Avenue SW, Suite 637D, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Washington, DC  20201, (202) 619-3636, Individuals can also sign up for updates as plans develop, at

As CT Workforce Ages, Employers Look to Attract Young Workers, Seek State Policy Support

The good news:  three times as many Connecticut businesses say they are growing rather than contracting, innovation and investment in technology is strong and three-quarters of manufacturers surveyed say they are exporting. Those are among the lead findings in a survey of Connecticut businesses conducted by BlumShapiro and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. While the 2014 Survey of Connecticut Businesses shows optimism that Connecticut’s business landscape continues to improve, there remain concerns about the economy and the ability to create jobs in Connecticut, as well as signs that the state’s workforce continues to get older. In fact, one in four respondents are facing a wave of retirements over the next decade, with at least 40% of their workforce aged 55 or older.CTbusiness survey

“Connecticut’s workforce is aging, with 53% of our respondents reporting that 20% or more of their workforce is 55 or above. There is much to be optimistic about in this survey, but the aging workforce is certainly a challenge we continue to face,” pointed out Joseph Kask, Office Managing Partner of BlumShapiro’s West Hartford office.

While 38% of companies offer flexible work hours, only 8% offer telecommuting. One in four respondents also has specific practices or policies designed to attract and retain younger workers, including internships, tuition reimbursement, high entry-level wages, apprenticeships, and school/college recruitment programs.  Many companies employ apprentices (34%), interns (57%), and temps (58%), and eight in ten companies (79%) plan to hire these workers for permanent positions.

The survey shows slightly greater anticipated demand for mid-level employees than entry level or line workers. Among businesses of all types, workforce demand through 2015 is concentrated on mid-level employees (33% of companies say this is their area of greatest demand) followed by entry-level employees (29%), line workers (28%), managers (8%), and executive leadership (2%).Other highlights of this year’s survey include:

  • 35% of businesses surveyed indicate they are growing; 11% indicate they are contracting.
  • 46% of businesses surveyed introduced new products or services in the past 12 months; 47% of them plan on introducing new products or services in the next 12 months.
  • Three-quarters of manufacturers surveyed are exporting.
  • 52% of businesses surveyed say the most important step policymakers can take to enhance business in Connecticut is lowering taxes; 24% say it is reducing regulations, and 11% say it is cutting government regulations.
  • 27% of businesses surveyed say technology is the greatest single investment, 23% say it is employee training, and 23% say it is property and facilities.

concern When asked how Connecticut should address the shortage of skilled workers, 32% of businesses surveyed say the state should reduce the cost of living, 28% say the state should support trade schools, 20% say the state should support education overall, and 20% say there should be incentive for training steady;

The industries included in the survey include manufacturing, professional services, construction, retail, hospitality/tourism, wholesale, insurance, finance, real estate and software/technology.  Nearly one-third of the respondents were in the manufacturing sector.

CBIA is Connecticut’s leading business organization, with 10,000 member companies.  BlumShapiro is the largest regional accounting, tax and business consulting firm based in New England, with Connecticut offices in West Hartford and Shelton.