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The division on aging in New Jersey also circulates a monthly newsletter, Added Years, which is sent to over 8,000 citizens throughout the State. It contains descriptions of government and private programs for the aging, reports on pertinent legislation, and generally stimulates awareness of existing needs and
The scope of those needs and resources is suggested by typical articles in recent issues of this little publication which cover a broad range of subjects including day centers, housing for the elderly, public medical care, homemaker programs, rehabilitation, recreation, institutional living, discrimination in employment, and restorative nursing.
It is a heartening experience to read through these little leaflets and discover the new frontiers of experience they are gaining and the new hope and imagination which our communities are bringing to these projects. In Middlesex County a program for senior citizens entitled "Your Health-Your Food—and You" conducts Monday afternon meetings with the cooperation of the Middlesex County Tuberculosis & Health League and the Public Service Electric & Gas Co. For the large proportion of our aged people who are living alone and doing their cooking on a one-burner stove and subsisting on a limited budget, adequate and nourishing food is a very real problem, and this program recognizes that finding.
The ad hoc committee on aging of Essex County in my own district has, with the assistance of the State division on aging, planned coordinated programs for senior citizens with the cooperation of municipalities. A recent questionnaire sent to 190 organizations serving the aging in the county showed that a multiplicity of agencies, each with its own idea of what the elderly want or need, is complicating the campaign. The committee is acting to unify all programs into a well-rounded organization with definite guidelines of service. James D. Compton, chairman of the ad hoc committee, has announced an early spring meeting to adopt a constitution and elect officers for a permanent countywide organization.
Mr. Chairman, at the national level we have had some activity on behalf of the aging but it has been peripatetic. Committees of the Congress have conducted investigations and issued reports—and I hope they will continue to do so. The White House Conference on Aging held in Washington in January 1961, under authority of an act of the Congress, was a progressive step forward, but that Conference, having issued its report, is now adjourned. The time has come, Mr. Chairman, when we must recognize at the national level—as we have at the State and community level—that we must have a permanent body in our Government concerned with all of the very broad problems of health, of income, of housing, of recreation, of nutrition, and of finding suitable employment for our senior citizens.
Mr. Chairman, we also need to learn the facts of these matters because I am convinced that they will help us to set our sights higher with respect to what we can do for our older men and women-and more things that we can do with them. A comprehensive study in New Jersey of discrimination in employment because of age, for example, was recently conducted. Among the myths destroyed by its find ngs is the one which holds that older workers are more prone to absenteeism than younger workers. The fact is that attendance records indicate older workers are at least as good as workers under 45, and are often better than the youngest age groups. Another myth shattered by the study is that older workers have lower productivity than younger employees. The findings show that only in a small number of jobs requiring great physical strength or agility do younger workers outproduce older ones.
On this particular point I am reminded, Mr. Chairman, of the commentator who, following the inspiring trip of our astronaut, John Glenn, wrote that it was fortunate Mr. Glenn has a steady job because, if he entered many employ. ment offices in our country and admitted to being 40 years of age, he would have difficulty finding a job.
It is because I am convinced that a Bureau of Older Persons will be able to assist the States and communities of this country in finding new horizons for our older citizens that I am so greatly concerned with the enactment of this legis. lation. I urge you to report out a measure shaped along the lines of my bill for the consideration of the Congress.
PETER W. RODINO, Jr.,
Member of Congress.
STATEMENT OF Hon. Hugh J. ADDONIZIO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE
STATE OF NEW JERSEY 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 citizensthe 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.
Fifty-four percent of the older people surveyed are dependent on social security.
Six percent are living on old-age assistance.
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.
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.
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 unaware.
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 sporadie, 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 contributions looking toward effective statewide programs. 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.
HUGH J. ADDONIZIO,
Member of Congress.