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viously not due to improve at all. The individual who has experienced long-term unemployment or serious disability in the later years of his working life is going to approach old age with very, very limited assets, possibly even with debts. He is going to be one of the serious problems among the senior citizens' group.
Mr. GIAIMO. Thank you.
Mr. ELLSWORTH. I just have one question. You stress the importance of putting more emphasis on research. Some of the witnesses yesterday felt also there should be stronger emphasis on training in the bill, or at least that this was, as you pointed out, with research, something neglected, they felt the training of people to fill these jobs was accelerated by this type of legislation and was equally important.
Would you comment on that?
Dr. GORDON. Well, in the bills that I have had a chance to read, there is a provision for research and training grants and this, I think, is very desirable, and I would hope that substantial emphasis would be embraced in the administration of those grants on stimulating training programs.
The reason I mentioned research particularly is because I feel that there is a tendency not to appropriate enough for research within an agency itself, and I think this is awfully important in this field. I have mentioned housing particularly as an aspect of the aging problem, where I feel there is a desperate need for more adequate facts.
When I was at the conference at Williamsburg, that was going over the Brookings' report, some of the representatives of the Housing and Finance Agency were there, and saying they were having extreme difficulty getting approval of an appropriation of $150,000 simply to produce adequate tabulations from the 1960 Census of Housing that would shed light on the housing status of the elderly. I understand that appropriation finally got through, but this is the kind of thing that we desperately need. We collect lots of information and then it isn't available in a form that will shed light on the status of the elderly.
One of the greatest difficulties that arises in analyzing data on housing of the elderly is that you have tables classified by age of head of household and this tells you something about the households that are headed by an elderly person, but it doesn't tell you a thing about the housing status of people who are living in a state of dependency with relatives or with younger adults.
Mr. O'Hara. Dr. Gordon, thank you very much for an excellent statement. You can be certain that we shall keep your recommendations in mind.
Is Robert Ash present ?
Mr. Ash, if you will identify yourself for the reporter, you may proceed in any manner you wish.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT ASH, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, CENTRAL
LABOR COUNCIL OF ALAMEDA COUNTY, AFL-CIO
Mr. Ash. My name is Robert Ash. I am executive secretary of the Central Labor Council of Alameda County, AFL-CIO, an organization whose affiliates represent 120,000 members of organized labor. The labor council over the years has been consistently active in supporting measures which it feels will benefit our State's and Nation's elderly. The council recognizes that the country's millions of senior citizens will continue to grow in number, and continue to grow as a percentage of the total population. We are, therefore, pleased to witness a number of breakthroughs in recent years with respect to legislation affecting the welfare of so many. It indicates a new era for local, State, and Federal governments, as they turn to the intricate and profound problems of an age group which has received far too little attention.
We in California take considerable pride in pointing to this State's successful programs with respect to the aged, including the continuing and highly meaningful operations of the Gov. Edmund G. “Pat" Brown's committee on the aging. Such an activity underscores this State's belief that programs for the aged must go beyond the bookkeeping arrangements of welfare payments, vital though such programs are.
The council supports the principles and objectives of H.R. 10014. We believe that the single most important feature of the proposed legislation is found in paragraph 7 of section 202(a); namely:
Continuously assist States and local communities in assessing needs of the aged, developing approaches and programs with respect to problems of the aged, obtaining relevant information, and measuring the progress of such programs.
It seems likely that other functions of the Commission are largely variations on the theme set by this objective, and all that can be done to foster such intergovernmental relationships and effective action should be done. With this desired end product of working, meaningful local activities in mind, I should like to speak briefly on three aspects of a Federal program on the aging which might deserve additional consideration. H.R. 10014 at present does not seem to adequately deal with them.
First, Federal legislators may wish to consider a somewhat new approach to the problem of organizing and maintaining active local programs on aging. We should like to suggest that the proposed Commission consider a regional office for its field activities, to encourage the flexibility, improvisation, and genuine local autonomy needed in a new and untried field such as this legislation represents.
Washington, D.C., 3,000 miles and several agencies away, can tend to have merely a routine or mechanical interest in the program if staff consultants are unaware of the diversity and details of local programs for the aged. To have perhaps five or more regional areas for constant travel and consultation may provide the single feature which will assure the Federal program of success. More so than most programs, senior citizens' activities are notably “grassroots,” in terms of leadership, membership and vitality. The need, we feel, is for a Federal commission to be constantly alert to this vitality and to foster it whenever possible.
H.R. 10014 proposes that the Commission will hire its own staff and assign necessary tasks to it. At the same time, this legislation stresses the interdepartmental nature of the operation, calling for an interdepartmental council of department heads and for an advisory council which would again include department heads or their designees.
The legislation, it appears, leaves much of the actual fulfillment of its purposes up to the knowledge, talent and cooperativeness of department executives—men who are enormously occupied with their other duties. It is perhaps desirable to retain the provisions for these two interagency councils. But it also may be desirable to have staff members of the Commission to serve also as staff members of the four individual Federal departments cited in this bill.
A number of helpful results can come from such an overlapping of staff members. There is first a continuity of interest and knowledge in individual departments, on the part of staff experts rather than department heads. There will also tend to grow a spirit and a vehicle for constant and realistic cooperative action in the four or more agencies. Such a development could also be reflected in congressional relations, in the 50 States' workable programs and throughout the administration. Such a program would probably best succeed through the appointment of new Commission staff members to the various departments, rather than make Commission staff members out of avail-. able departmental employees.
Thirdly, H.R. 10014 properly describes the great scope of any program designed to explore and act upon the needs of the aging: recreation, housing, education, nursing care, welfare needs, and many others. The technical and numerous concerns of the Commission seem to suggest that a three-man membership is perhaps too small, that a larger number—perhaps seven-would be able to concern themselves more thoroughly with specific areas of activity. As in the case of any local, State, or National commission or board, fulfillment of goals and objectives normally depends on informed and active commission members.
The prospect of new approaches to this vital problem of the aging may also induce the best talents in the field to make themselves available as members of the Commission. It seems possible that candidates. for membership would first look at the machinery established to accomplish objectives. And machinery which permits regionalization, constant interagency coordination in Washington, and a realistic workload might be desirable. In any case, it seems imperative that only topflight experts in the field or in related fields be appointed to the Commission. To do otherwise would tend to produce built-in handicaps before this new and urgent program gets underway.
In concluding, I should like to say that Federal action indicated in H.R. 10014 is definitely needed, and that the proposed legislation seems sufficiently comprehensive. Additional Federal legislation will be needed, and will be developed, as experience accumulates. The Alameda County Central Labor Council feels that local and State governments must secure Federal guidance and assistance.
Thank you for permitting us this opportunity to testify on behalf of H.R. 10014.
I would like to say here that in listening to Dr. Gordon, I would like to add to what she has said about this problem of not creating too. narrow a spread in the age brackets or age bracket for which this bill and the proposed Commission would concern themselves, because I am thinking too of those people who primarily are too old to work because of change in productive methods, automation, speedup of workloads, inability over the period of years to have kept themselves in good physical condition, and as a result of that are finding themselves unable to find employment.
I think that all that Dr. Gordon had to say in this proposed legislation, should take into consideration those matters. Also concerned, not necessarily so, but I am thinking of myself, the years that I may have been representing the labor movement, coming up in the automobile business, retail business, it would be pretty hard for me to go back to my own trade, because there are so many changes in it.
Of course, I am not going to say I am going to need help, but it just is impossible to go back after a long period of time and particularly those people who are getting aged and being removed because, as I say, of automation or increased labor loads.
I would like to thank you for giving us this opportunity to appear on behalf of the organization.
Mr. O'HARA. Thank you, Mr. Ash, for taking the time to appear before us and for your very helpful suggestions. I think we can all agree with your suggestion that the program and activities for the aging have grassroots origins and support and vary from one area to another. We also would agree that any program for the aging must recognize the role of local communities and local groups.
Your suggestion with regard to the problems of cooperation and coordination that will exist, it seems to me, is an important consideration no matter what is done in the way of establishing a commission or an office within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. You have read H.R. 10014, and your recommendation and testimony are directed toward the independent Commission. Would I be correct, however, if I assumed that you have not decided on exactly how this office should be organized. Whether it is an independent commission, an independent agency, or an office within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is not the point you wish to make, so long as it attains the objective you outlined in your testimony. Is that correct?
Mr. As'. That is correct.
Mr. O'HARA. Mr. Ash, thank you very much. I think you have pinpointed some very important problems that we are going to have to resolve the best we can.
Mr. Asii. Thank you.
Mr. O'Hara. My list of witnesses indicates Mr. Pryor, Mr. Cumling, and Mr. Jenkins are to testify next. I understand Mr. Cumling and Mr. Jenkins are representing the International Gerontological Association. Is Mr. Pryor present? Mr. Pryor, will you come forward, please?
Mr. PRYOR. I regret that we only have one copy, we did not have time to make more. Should more be desired, we can get them to you early in the week.
Mr. O'HARA. That would be quite satisfactory. The transcript will be available in a few days, and the hearings will be printed within a reasonably short time.
Mr. Pryor, if you will identify yourself to the reporter, you may read your statement, or, if you prefer, summarize it.
STATEMENT OF ROY J. PRYOR, GENERAL MANAGER OF FOREST
HILL MANOR, REPRESENTING THE ASSOCIATION OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA HOMES FOR THE AGED
Mr. PRYOR. My name is Roy J. Pryor. I am the general manager of Forest Hill Manor, located in the Pacific group. It so happens it has one home in Palo Alto, and this is a Methodist home for elderly persons. I am here today representing the Association of Northern California Homes for the Aged, an association that is made up of members of the nonprofit homes in the northern part of the State, and my comment for your general information that there is a comparable organization in southern California, much larger than the one in the north, and one in central California with headquarters in Fresno.
I might comment that we do appreciate greatly this opportunity to discuss some of the problems and needs of senior citizens, as we see them from the nonprofit-home point of view, and we are also very impressed with the fact that Congress is very much alert to these needs. I do want to make this statement, because the one statement I have here, because it contains a gist of some of the things we want to emphasize, so I will say it is most important to us that Congress is giving serious consideration to the development of ways and means to make sure that the needs and problems of elderly persons are met on a well-considered, coordinated, and integrated basis, rather than on the fragmented overspecialized basis as it currently exists in so many instances.
I have already indicated the composition of our group. It is our conviction here that we can best honor our fathers and our mothers by treating older persons as the normal adults rather than as senile, inadequate persons in their second childhoods, which they generally are not.
We insist that they must be treated as individuals and not as a category to which we attribute all the unpleasant characteristics of human beings.
So we are concerned with helping them remain independent and I would like to emphasize that helping them to remain independent, active people, as long as possible, rather than forcing them into the role of physically and emotionally dependent beings, whose one remaining purpose frequently is merely to await the end.
So this, we believe, is really an immoral conducive to physical and mental deterioration and it is a shameful waste of human resources and potentialities.
Our group has sponsors and operators of nonprofit homes for the aged, guided by high ethical and religious principles. We offer to those older persons who require it and desire it congregate living facilities which are as near to normal family life as it is possible to achieve. We seek to provide much more than just food, shelter, and medical
We offer, in varying degrees as needed, more social activity, creative and educational activities, as well as opportunities for our elderly residents to be of service to others, both within these homes and in their adjacent communities. And you will find that by and large the residents of our homes are animated, contented people who thoroughly enjoy life.
While we do make adequate provision for medical and nursing care when needed, we encourage our residents to be as active as possible