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Miss ADKINS. I think in Mr. Ash's letter is the statement he made that of course through our ex-officio members there had been some consultation and I do not speak for either the Secretary or for the Commissioner. I think when you realize, Mr. Beard, that there are in the entire setup of Government hundreds of advisory committees, it becomes an easy matter for those who wish to, to take the attitude that this is just another advisory group.
We feel that the Federal Council on the Aging, having been established by the Congress for a specific purpose, is much broader in its responsibility and viewpoint than just an advisory committee.
If you see what I mean.
So that we hope that in the future as we make our voice become increasingly heard that there will be always that awareness that we are there for a specific purpose and we do expect to be brought into deliberations. We were not this time.
Mr. BEARD. Certainly as a Member of Congress I welcome whatever advice your committee can submit to us that will be helpful in our deliberations.
I tell you one thing: there are 21 million elderly Americans out there who will keep the President well informed.
Miss Adkins. And there will be more of us, too. I am one of them. Mr. BRADEMAS. Mr. Miller.
Mr. MILLER. I would like to make the comment that Mr. Ash's letter is really, I think, unacceptable. I dare say that I don't think I would write one of my constituents that letter. I don't think he ought to write that letter to 20 million-plus senior citizens.
I guess I am a little apologetic. If he does view this as simply another advisory commission I apologize that the administration would take that kind of view.
Miss Adkins. Having been in government, Mr. Miller, I am fully ready to ride with the punches but I don't like it either.
Mr. MILLER. I have been in government for a while, too. Sometimes I think we ought to stop riding the punches.
Thank you very much. Mr. BRADEMAS. Thank you very much. Miss Adkins. We hope to have a fuller report next time, Mr. Chairman,
Mr. BRADEMAS. Thank you.
Our final witness today is Mr. Gordon F. Streib, chairman of the Public Information Committee, American Gerontological Society.
STATEMENT OF GORDON F. STREIB, CHAIRMAN, PUBLIC INFORMA
TION COMMITTEE, AMERICAN GERONTOLOGICAL SOCIETY, ACCOMPANIED BY LINDA LILIENFELL
Mr. STREIB. Mr. Chairman, I brought with me a colleague of the staff of the Gerontological Society, Miss Linda Lilienfell. She participated in the Conference on the Mass Media which was held in California under a grant from AOA.
I don't know whether time will permit to ask questions about that activity, but she was there and may have some detailed information that I can supply.
Rather than reading this, which some of you may have glanced over, I think I will just quickly try to make a few of the points that I made in this written testimony.
I represent here the Gerontological Society. I am chairman of the Public Information Committee.
Unlike the other witnesses today, we are here to give our opinion and our facts about the situation regarding the aged.
I am here specifically to speak about the situation regarding research and training in the field of gerontology. It is a complicated subject, but I take the general position that research and training of professional people has a direct outcome that affects the aged and may improve their situation.
First, I would like to say here orally as I have in writing that I am aware, as I am sure you people are, of the need for fiscal prudence in government at all levels.
Those of us who work for nonprofit agencies are constantly reminded these days of the need to curtail expenditures. Although many of us this morning have been asking, like myself, for additional public moneys, I think it is your job to consider the priorities, weigh them and hopefully I suspect there is sentiment here for increased appropriations for the aged Americans.
I would like to highlight three things, though, in this testimony.
One. I would like to first bring out a complete feature of the Older Americans Act concerning multidisciplinary centers.
Second. I would like to point out the shortcomings in the implementation of the act and then, three, a recommendation for a new section in title IV on the mass media on aging.
First, one of the complete features in the law, it is like one of the aspects that I think Mr. Ahrens pointed to. These materials are put into law but nothing ever happens. They are what you might call kind of pious objectives which we like but they really have little influence if no moneys are appropriated to support the programs that were planned.
I think that the idea in title IV of setting up organizations and institutions to engage in multidisciplinary activities regarding the aging should be carried forward.
This is farsighted legislation because it recognizes that studies and programs related to the aging must incorporate the whole human being biologically, sociologically, and psychologically. The farsighted nature of the law is illustrated by the language.
I hope and trust in your deliberations you will see something concrete comes out regarding the establishment of multidisciplinary centers.
The second topic is related to the first in a way and these remarks may be considered somewhat critical but they are not offered in any hostile sense against the persons who administer the present law.
As other witnesses have said, we have great admiration in the gerontological profession for Dr. Fleming and his commitment to the 20 million older persons. He has been very hard working and sincerely in their behalf.
The point of these comments is to urge that perhaps the law needs to be changed in some respect so that what I believe is the intent of the act is achieved in implementation.
Funds were severely curtailed for career training in gerontology. The line of reasoning which has been applied by the administration is that we have an excess of manpower and, therefore, if you apply the law of supply and demand there is no need to train people.
I think this is a short-run view and one of the things the administration has emphasized is short-run courses and short-run training in institutes.
I recognize the value of these short-run programs, but I ask you as members of this subcommittee to recognize that behind the short-run courses are often people who have deeper level knowledge about gerontology and aging and how these problems should be administered.
So that what we need are backup people who have keeper training, who can train the trainers, so to speak.
Now, the lack of concern for long-range training by the administration, I think has resulted in the decimation of a number of fine programs because the funding, as in other areas, is somewhat inadequate or it is very erratic, sometimes both.
This kind of funding results in very poor morale in the case of some organizations and I think you can understand how that would come about. I know of several situations, several in the Midwest, for example, in which there are educators eager to get into the field of gerontology but the stance of the administration is such that I do not think their programs will get funded.
We recommend specifically that about $12 million be earmarked for training in gerontology, $8 million for existing centers, and $1 million for new centers.
Turning now to the third point of my testimony concerning the mass media and the aged, this is a very complicated matter and in a couple of minutes obviously I can only highlight a few points.
As I review the amendments to the Older Americans Act we suggest that you might consider including something on the mass media of community of the aged.
The Gerontological Society recently conducted a conference in California with a small grant. The participants there were communications researchers, gerontologists, people in commercial and public broadcasting and representatives of the national aging organizations. The leader of the Gray Panthers was there, for example.
In opening the conference Dr. Alexander Comfort, who is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions—some of you may be familiar with him as the author of that best seller, "The Joy of Sex"_before he wrote that book he was very much involved and still is in the field of gerontology and aging. He has written a book on senescence. He is a leading biomedical researcher in England and was before he came to this country to live.
Dr. Comfort said,
Media are very important to the old, as they are to all of us—the old are big users of radio, of television, and of the press; as a lifeline, as a source of information and enrichment of their environment (something which in itself combats social deterioration with age) and as a substitute defense against the lone. liness which many experience as their chief problem. Media can inform-not only of current events but of rights and facilities, they can inform—they can entertain, they can activate and educate. Media, moreover, also address the whole citizenry and can project a true and a valuing image of what aging is and is not. They are therefore crucial in correcting the sort of black magic which has been generated about the useless, brainless, sexless old.
Perhaps some of us noticed how the media can be used in Monday's New York Times. There was an article on a four-hour WNET show on retirement in which they received 1,400 phone calls concerning this program on retirement.
I give this as an example of how the media when it is used in a sensitive way can inform and educate as Dr. Comfort mentioned here.
[The article follows:]
1,500 CALL IN DURING 4-HOUR WNET RETIREMENT Show
(By Lee Dembart) A telethon-style special on retirement and aging was given yesterday afternoon over WNET, and an estimated total of 1,500 viewers called in during the program for advice on problems ranging from Social Security to nursing homes.
Forty volunteers backed up by a dozen experts were inundated with calls from the moment the phone numbers were flashed on the screen at noon until four hours later when the program, “Ready or Not,” went off the air.
"If we had this many calls during pledge week,” said Maureen Mangiardi, who produced the show on the noncommercial station, “we wouldnit ve to have so many pledge weeks.”
Most of the callers asked specific questions about pensions, Social Security eligibility, housing, rent and medical care. If the question could be answered it was, and if it couldn't be, the caller was directed to an appropriate agency chosen from a 15-page list that each volunteer had before him.
Crane Davis, executive producer and host of the show, said the large response indicated that thousands of elderly people did not know whom to turn to for advice.
One of the volunteers, Noam Stampfer, a first-year law student at New York University said many callers he spoke to praised the show and thanked the station. “One said, “You're doing such a fantastic job!" he said.
The program contained ive half-hour segments produced by the Ma wer Education Institute ou retirement problems, two on finances, and one each on health, housing and leisure. In the live portions, totaling an hour and a half, Mr. Davis expanded on specific aspects of the problems with guest experts.
One of them, Paul J. Gross, administrator of the pension fund for the paper industry, declared : “Retirement is overrated. A life of leisure is not as fulfilling as younger people think i: is.”
"I'm a believer in education toward retirement," said Marya Mannes, the author. "There is a problem that affects mostly men who are so used for so long to going to the office for an eight-hour day and being useful and being paid. Suddenly they have no office to go to, and there is a terrible loss of self-esteem.”
But most of the callers had money on their minds, not the social and psychological problems of retirement.
One woman said she had a pension plan that allowed her to retire at 55, and she wanted to know if her Social Security would be affected if she did. Max StamJer, head of the midtown district of the Social Security office, explained that her Government pension would be adversely affected, and why.
A can called about pension plans for self-employed people, and he was told about Keogh Plans.
Another man wanted to know if the new pension law requires his company to give him a pension. It doesn't.
“There are a lot of calls from people with very high rent, and what can they do about it,” said Adele Trobe of the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged. "If they make more than $6,500 a year, the answer is nothing."
One caller asked about getting into public housing. Another wanted to know how to find a good nursing home. Others were concerned about whether they needed private health insurance once they had Medicare.
One man in his early 60's called to say he had received and cashed seven Social Security checks though he had not yet retired. He did not have a question.
Mr. STREIB. The California conference had a number of recommendations. I suggest a couple here. We think that perhaps money should be set aside for setting up centers which would stimulate and develop aging content in both Government and private sectors of the media production.
Second, we think there should be attempts made to develop model projects which would involve older people in the development of programs.
There is already some experience in this regard. In New York, for example, in one of the large public housing projects they have closed circuit television where they can communicate with the aged and they respond back to the studio. There is a very interesting program which some of you might want to look into further. I think also there is a need to fund research projects to analyze the content of TV programs, the images developed by the mass media, the characteristics of the viewing audience and the effective use of community resources as they relate to the content and the audiences.
I think the existing legislation, title II and title IV in my judgment can be interpreted to provide a legislative base for some of these problems or suggestions regarding the mass media and the aging,
That in summary is what I would like to say this morning. Thank you for your time and attention.
[Prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF GORDON F. STREIB, Ph. D., CHAIRMAN OF THE PUBLIC
INFORMATION COMMITTEE, GEBONTOLOGICAL SOCIETY Congressman Brademas, I am Gordon Streib, Graduate Research Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and Chairman of the Public Information Committee of the Gerontological Society.
I have just moved to Florida. For the past twenty-five years I have been a member of the faculty at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, where for about twenty of those years I was engaged in teaching and research in aging. I have served in an advisory capacity to various government agencies over the years, including the Social Security Administration, the Administration on Aging, and the Aging Program of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Last year I was appointed to a four-year term as a member of a Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. My writings include the background paper, NEW ROLES IN RETIREMENT, for the 1971 White House Conference on Aging, and I have co-authored with Clement J. Schneider, RETIREMENT IN AMERICAN SOCIETY:IMPACT AND PROCESS.
The Gerontological Society, and I personally, strongly support the Amendment of the Older Americans Act so that adequate support is given to training and research with the goal of improving the situation of America's older citizens.
First I would like to stress that I am personally very much aware of the urgent need for fiscal responsibility in the appropriation and use of public monies. Those of us who are on the payroll of non-profit organizations-colleges, universities, and professional organizations, like the Gerontological Society-do not need to be told of the importance of prudence in the expenditure of money. We are daily reminded of the need for economies. However, we think that when we consider the situation of research and training regarding the aging one must apply some kind of insurance concept to avoid the short-sighted approach to planning and to appropriating federal funds. One does not expect an immediate payoff for we are looking ahead two or three or five years. The generation of new knowledge and the training of professional leaders is not like stamping out plastic ash trays or throw-away glasses. Sound research and training in gerontology-as in other fields--requires careful thought and long-range commitments to people and to organizations. It is not a short-term matter.
I would like to highlight three points in these observations.
(1) An excellent feature of the Older Americans Act concerning multi-disciplinary centers;
(2) Shortcomings in the implementation of the present Act;
(3) A recommendation for a new section in Title IV for research on the mass media and aging.