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Mr. Chairman and members of the commitee, it is a pleasure to testify in support of the pending legislation to establish a U.S. Commission on Aging.

As you are aware I have, for some years been concerned with the establishment of a Bureau of Older Persons in our Government in order to give proper support and emphasis to the very particular problems of these people the special victims of the marvelous productivity of our country and the magnificent improvements in health care and facilities which has lengthened life expectancy for all of us. We are just beginning to understand that today's senior citizens the men and women who have made possible the great industrial and distributive revolution of the past half century and have fought war and depressionare today, too often, the inheritors of serious problems of lack of employment opportunities, of an adequate income, of health care, of adequate housing, and of the recognition and attention they deserve.

Such facts as we have accumulated are shocking on the one hand and encouraging on the other. They are shocking because they show a widespread want and despair among our older men and women. They are encouraging as they show that some communities and some States are becoming aware of what they can do—and are doing it. The activities and services of many of these organizations and agencies have been educational for the entire community. Some of the programs which are specially designed to give special attention to problems of older people include: (1) Preparation for retirement programs, (2) general adult education courses, (3) community self-study and action projects, and (4) in-service training projects for workers with older people.

I am proud to say that the first such research project of its kind in the country was carried out in my own State, in Paterson, N.J., where, in the fall of 1957, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Paterson YM-YWHA cosponsored a citizens committee on service to elderly citizens composed of representatives of the city's service organizations and all the public and private health and welfare agencies. A committee visited the mayor and, as a result, an enlarged group was formed known as the mayor's advisory committee on services for the aging. The first step was a survey of the actual needs of the city's older people. The survey committee recommended that it cover the needs of people in private households, rather than institutions, with the hope of planning for services which would prevent unnecessary institutionalization and keep older people in the stream of community life as long as possible.

In all, the Paterson Mayor's advisory committee mobilized almost 150 volunteers to do the legwork and the doorbell ringing. Five thousand householders were visited and almost 1,500 people over 65 were interviewed. Volunteers were recruited from every service club, civic, religious, and professional group in the city. The community was shocked at the intensity of the need revealed. The results showed that:

Forty-six percent of those interviewed were single most of them widowed.
Fourteen percent live alone.
Eight and one half percent live in cold-water flats.

Fifty-four percent of the older people surveyed are dependent on social security.

Six percent are living on old-age assistance.
Nine percent are still working.
Eight percent depend on their children.

Twenty-eight percent of the over-65 population interviewed had not seen a doctor within the last year.

Twenty-two percent had been sick during the week in which they were interviewed.

Six percent were bedfast.
Seventeen percent claimed to have no one to care for them in sickness.

Twenty percent no opportunity to meet other people their own age. Another study in Trenton, “Age 60 Plus in the Trenton, N.J., Labor Market," looking to the economic and occupational status of 796 residents age 60 and over seeking work and of the practices of 728 local employers with respect to hiring older workers, during the period of July 1 to October 31, 1958, revealed that

Fifty-three percent of the survey group were laid off by their long-term employer.

Nearly 50 percent had been out of work for 6 months or more.
Fifty percent were available only for part-time work.

Only 11 percent were physically handicapped to such an extent as to seriously complicate the problem of job placement.

More than 80 percent cited the need for income as the primary motive for wanting work.

Fifty-nine percent of the group indicated they contribute to the support of at least one other person.

Ninety-one percent of the group were claiming unemployment insurance benefits.

Sixty-five percent of the entire group and 90 percent of those 65 and over were receiving social security benefits.

Only 1 percent were receiving either public assistance or old-age assist


Nearly three-fourths of all responding employers had not hired workers 60 and over for the past 2 years.

About one in every six employers was of the opinion that pensions, casualty, and group life insurance rates are problem factors in hiring older persons. One of the functions of the Bureau of Older Persons envisioned in my bill, H.R. 2377, would be to provide technical assistance to enable cities all over the country to conduct similar surveys. We have found in New Jersey that this type of activity is beneficial not only because of the factual basis it provides for action, but also because the community becomes aroused concerning the problems of its older people—problems of which it had often been largely


Many States had a similar experience in conducting the studies and preparing the background papers for the White House Conference on Aging which was held in Washington, D.C., in January 1961. In her concluding statement of the report prepared for the State of New Jersey, Mrs. Eone Harger, chairman of the State's delegation to the White House Conference on Aging, wrote movingly :

“As we move ahead in our program for the White House Conference, I want to make a special plea for an objective examination of problem areas and possible solutions. Someone has used the term 'hardening of the attitudes,' and it applies too often to attitudes insofar as problems of our aging population are concerned.

“A Golden Age Club may help many older people renew friendships and give greater dimension to an individual's world, but it hasn't helped the person who cannot find a place to live within the limits of a social security check.

“A cancer screening clinic may discover and arrange for treatment of that disease, but it has not removed the worry of the individual who knows that if he becomes incapacitated, the financial and physical burden on grown children will jeopardize the education of beloved grandchildren.

"There may be a good hospital in the community but this does not meet the need that goes unfilled when young families fight community nursing homes saying, 'We don't want old people around.'

"These are illustrations of the problems that are brought to our attention daily. If they are to be answered, we cannot be satisfied with glib solutions that short-circuit intelligent evaluation of new ideas and imaginative proposals.”

At the congressional level, a Special Committee on Problems of the Aged and Aging as a subcommittee to the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare was established in February 1959 by Senate Resolution 65. This subcommittee has done the country an enormous service in bringing together facts and figures and particularly in the hearings conducted in seven cities throughout the country. In each city, the member heard from officials in daily contact with the problems of the aged, personally visited various facilities for the aged to meet and talk with them about their problems and perhaps most important of all—in “townhall sessions” they talked with the aged themselves. At these townhall sessions, 160 senior citizens freely expressed their views, many speaking not only for themselves but for their friends in church groups, senior centers, and retired persons groups.

All of these activities are important but too often they tend to be sporadic. We learned in New Jersey, Mr. Chairman, that temporary bodies make a tremendous contribution but that, to insure continuity of purpose, there must be a permanent body. The first recommendation of the New Jersey Old Age Study Commission, which began its work in 1955, was that a permanent New Jersey Commission on Aging be established as an advisory and consultative body through which channel many agencies and organizations in the State could channel their contribution's looking toward effective statewide programs.

As a result a permanent division of aging was established in April 1958.

My bill would represent the same kind of action at the Federal level. In creating a Bureau of Older Persons we will not only assure continuity of action at this level, but we will be able to provide technical assistance to and the opportunity to exchange experience for the communities of our Nation who can benefit from this type of help in organizing their own programs. I am pleased to note that one of the recommendations of the Senate Subcommittee on Problems of the Aged was that such a bureau should be created in the Federal Government. I commend your subcommittee for your concern about this important matter and I hope we will get decisive action in this session of the Congress.


Member of Congress.


FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 1962


Sacramento, Calif. The subcommittee met at 9:48 a.m., pursuant to call, in room 2170, State Capitol, Sacramento, Calif., Hon. James G. O'Hara (acting chairman of the General Subcommittee on Education) presiding.

Present: Representative Robert Giaimo.

Present also: Robert E. McCord, director; Ted Ellsworth, special consultant on aging.

Mr. O'HARA. The General Subcommittee on Education of the House Committee on Education and Labor will come to order.

I am Representative James G. O'Hara, of Michigan, acting chairman of the General Subcommittee on Education. To my right is Representative Robert Giaimo, of Connecticut, a member of the subcommittee. With us are staff members Robert McCord and Ted Ellsworth. Mr. McCord is the counsel of the subcommittee and Mr. Ellsworth is a special consultant on the problems of the aging.

The chairman of the subcommittee, Representative Cleveland M. Bailey, of West Virginia, was, because of important business in West Virginia, unable to be present at this session.

The purpose of today's hearing is to take testimony with regard to a number of bills, H.R. 246, introduced by Mr. Libonati, of Illinois; H.R. 280, introduced by Mr. Zablocki, of Wisconsin; H.R. 306, introduced by Mr. Bennett, of Florida; H.R. 558, introduced by Mr. Rodino, of New Jersey; H.R. 710, introduced by Mr. Lane, of Massachusetts; H.R. 2377, introduced by Mr. Addonizio, of New Jersey; H.R. 2764, introduced by Mr. Halpern, of New York; H.R. 3071, introduced by Mrs. Pfost, of Idaho; H.R. 3739, introduced by Mr. Cramer, of Florida; H.R. 5030, introduced by Mr. Morgan, of Pennsylvania, and H.R. 10014, introduced by Mr. Fogarty, of Rhode Island.

All of these bills deal with creation of a committee, bureau, or independent commission or agency to deal with the problems of the aged and aging.

In preparation for the testimony, I might say that there have been many conferences on problems of the aging. The White House Conference, the most recent, included State and regional conferences, and many recommendations came from this series of meetings. One of the recommendations was that the Federal Government should assume responsibility for following up the recommendations of the Conference.

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