« PreviousContinue »
supervisor of friendly visitors. This team approach will help insure the successful completion of this demonstration project.
Considering the evaluation and research factor included in this demonstration project, it can be expected that identifiable negative factors will also be recorded. HMS believes that it is equally important to determine under what conditions Homemaker Service cannot play an effective supporting role for senior citizens.
Every effort will be made to implement this demonstration project in accordance with the policies and recommendations contained in the U.S. Public Health Publication No. 746 (Homemaker Service in the United States, a Report of the 1959 Conference) published by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (Public Health Service, Division of Public Health Methods).
PROBLEMS OF THE AGED AND AGING
FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 1962
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Wheeling, W. Va. The subcommittee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to notice, in room 206, Ohio County Court House, Wheeling City Hall, Hon. Cleveland M. Bailey (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Bailey, Hansen, and O'Hara.
Also present: Mr. Ted Ellsworth, University of Los Angeles, special consultant on aged and aging.
Chairman BAILEY. The subcommittee will be in order.
For the purpose of the record might I state that this subcommittee of the general Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives has been holding a series of meetings over the Nation to ascertain the situation that has concerned the various facets of problems of the aged and aging. Our purpose is to ascertain through the testimony that might be offered, favorable or unfavorable, to make reports to the proper committees and authorities that will be handling legislation dealing with the problem of the aged and aging.
We realize there are several facets of this problem. We might not have witnesses today that will cover all of the several problems that concern the aged and aging, but we will hear the witnesses that are present.
We would like, if possible, to conclude the hearings at the end of today, even if we have to stay in session a little longer.
Our first witness this morning is Dr. Forest H. Kirkpatrick, assistant to the president of the Wheeling Steel Corp., of Wheeling, W. Va. He also happens to be a member of the Governor's Commission on the Aged and Aging.
Dr. Kirkpatrick, you may proceed to make what statement you care to make.
STATEMENT OF DR. FOREST H. KIRKPATRICK, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE WHEELING STEEL CORP., WHEELING, W. VA.
Dr. KIRKPATRICK. Thank you very much, Congressman Bailey and your associates of the committee. I would like to say first of all I have not prepared a formal statement to present.
I would like to mention two or three things that are of special concern to me, or that seem to be of special concern in connection with this matter.
We all recognize the problem that will come as this population above the age of 60 increases. According to all predictions it will be an increasing population.
There are three aspects to the problem, I think, that your committee and anyone who is dealing with legislative matters or who has any interest in the public concern on the matters should be aware of. Certainly you are aware of the health problems which are receiving a lot of attention and to which I am not directing any of my comments because I am not competent and have not made enough study.
I am concerned with two other matters. First the opportunity offered to older persons to have educational experience. I am thinking of the need for establishing adult educational opportunities in communities through the local school authorities, providing opportunities through the public board of education, and the established school facilities for older people to have opportunities for educational advantages, both for avocation and for vocational training.
We learned long ago people can learn after they are adults. That has been supported by a very, very strong research study. The idea you cannot teach an old dog new tricks is passé. People can learn at an old age and there should be opportunities open for them.
I mentioned the three, the ability to have educational opportunities and avocation and vocation.
The second matter in addition to education, I think we have a problem of what I call vocational career guidance for adults. This may seem very strange, but we are entering a period when people can have one, two, or three careers in a lifetime. The idea we can have only one career and only one way in earning a living or enjoying life, I think, is outdated.
We are in a period when people can have what is called a multiple career pattern. You can have one career until age 40 and one from age 40 to 60 and another from age 60 to 80. It can be a different vocational interest and outlook. They may be careers that require different physical training, different social adjustments, but the adaptability of the human organism is something we have become more and more aware of as the years have gone along.
That goes back and puts the responsibilities also upon those who are giving vocational guidance to boys and girls so they will grow up with the idea they do not think they need one complete or fixed career and when that is all over they are all done for and washed up. They can start another career at age 40 or 60.
The idea of having one, two, or three careers in a lifetime I think is something in the sociological and psychological pattern we have to be adjusted to. That needs a different kind of vocational guidance for boys and girls and for adults, which I think is an area in which eventually the educational and government people should give some attention.
The idea of thinking the aging problem is a problem of supporting people who are indigent and cannot take care of themselves is not the whole problem. The problem is bigger than that.
There are many healthy, active, alert people who are aged and who want to take care of themselves and can. Those who are not, I think, should have the help and support of the Government and associations. Chairman BAILEY. If you will permit an interruption at this point, I might call attention to the fact that I am sponsoring in the House Education and Labor Committee legislation to increase the scope of activity of your land-grant colleges in the hope that this question of carrying better educational opportunities to the older people might be done through the extension work of the universities that are members of the land grants. Your Dr. McCrew is very much interested in the legislation, and the leader among the different States in that particular field of vocational education is Dr. Keller from Penn State.
They have a committee. We have had hearings. In fact, the matter is before the full committee to be reported out. It would permit a lot of extension work to be done by all of the land-grant colleges, and in doing them in other fields of education, we see no reason why classes could not be established for these older people under the legislation that that would provide.
Dr. KIRKPATRICK. I think it is an excellent type. I would like to suggest also that some of that should be done at the local levels by the school boards. In many cities it is.
Chairman BAILEY. It would, of course, have to work in connection with the local school boards, because they would have the teaching facilities that the professors from the colleges and universities would want to use.
I think it is a good move that we enlarge the field of activity of our land-grant colleges. That would include two or three in the State of West Virginia.
Dr. KIRKPATRICK. That is the only statement I would make.
Mrs. HANSEN. In passing, do you have a program of adult education under your legislative authority for education?
Dr. KIRKPATRICK. At the university?
Dr. KIRKPATRICK. I am not sure about the public schools. There is at the university, yes, through the extension program. But as Mr. Bailey mentioned, we have been handicapped by funds and resources. We have the machinery set up but we do not have the staff and facilities.
What we have available ought to be established so the adults can be served.
Mrs. HANSEN. It happens in my area of the United States we do have the beginning of adult education through the authority of the general legislative activity of each State. It is part of many, many school districts. We have tried to make a determined program to bring in the aging and the younger groups to train them in avocations and vocations.
Dr. KIRKPATRICK. That thing is spreading and has to spread, because you have an elder population that deserves education as well as the younger. The idea that education is pointed toward the 16- or 12-year-olds is a wrong concept. Society has a responsibility to serve the people of every age and certainly this group that is wanting to be reoriented in society.
Mr. O'HARA. Dr. Kirkpatrick, the bills pending before this subcommittee deal in one way or another with the creation or establishment of a commission for the aged or an office of the aged, within one of the existing governmental departments, or some sort of agency that would
have the responsibility of coordinating government efforts with regard to the aging and the aged. Would an addition be involved in making the grants to various local, public, and nonprofit groups for research and training of personnel in the problem areas with regard to aging and aged ?
I wonder if you would give us the benefit of your observations on this question, whether or not you feel there is a lack of coordination in Federal programs for the aged, and whether you feel the creation of some sort of coordinating group or agency that would have the functions I have described would be of benefit to the aged and to the local, public, and nonpublic agencies that are dealing with the problems.
Dr. KIRKPATRICK. I think a commission that would coordinate the research and the implementation of programs for the aged would be good. I think you ought to have an office of education that would support the commission that understands this problem.
You have a Department of Labor that I related this to, and Department of Commerce. They should be working at this the same as we would work about the problems relating to the 16-year-old or the 40- or 60-year-old.
I don't think a commission that would say, “We are going to take over the implementation of everybody who gets past 60," would help any. This is a problem that cannot be solved by setting a chronological
Some people are old at 30. They fossilize at 30. Some people are active at 70 and 80.
I think you have to face the problem of what is psychological and sociological adjustment. Those are the problems that need sociological and psychological help.
Mr. O'HARA. I think those comments are very perceptive.
Dr. KIRKPATRICK. I would hate to say that at some age we would become wards of the commission on aging.
Mr. O'HARA. I think you are absolutely right.
I think we need cooperation, but we do not need an operating commission in the sense you spoke of.
Dr. KIRKPATRICK. That is right.
Chairman BAILEY. Doctor, on behalf of the committee, I want to thank you for your appearance here. I failed in announcing you as our first witness to say that you are president of the governors of West Virginia University, as well as a member of the State Commission on aged and aging.
Thank you very much.
Dr. KIRKPATRICK. I would like to say we appreciate this committee coming to Wheeling. Chairman BAILEY. Thank
you. I am sure we will get some valuable facts.
Our second witness will be Miss Dorothy Gingras, American Association of Retired Persons and National Association of Retired Teachers.
You may further identify yourself to the reporter and proceed with your testimony.