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2012 ALFA Advocacy Fly-In

U.S. Assistant Secretary on Aging Kathy Greenlee shared her insights with 140 senior living executives gathered at the 2012 ALFA Advocacy Fly-in March 6, 2012.  Joining Greenlee at the event were Jim Ellis from PRIsm Consulting to comment on the political landscape and Lauren Harris-Kotjens from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, who discussed the agency’s new report on Residential Care Communities.

Kathy Greenlee concluded the day-long training by sharing with advocates her priorities as Assistant Secretary for Aging at the Administration on Aging.  Greenlee emphasized that addressing elder abuse was one of the issues that she is most passionate about.

"I'm absolutely committed to it," she said about the cause. "I will do everything I can to help talk about this issue, as unsightly and uncomfortable as talking about elder abuse can be."

Despite any discomfort conversations about elder abuse can cause many people, Greenlee asserted that action must be taken now, since the problem can only get worse as the population ages. She called for funding of the Elder Justice Act, which was passed through the Affordable Care Act with authorizing language but with no appropriations.

"To not have appropriations is really difficult," said the Assistant Secretary, "because the goal was to create the first ever dedicated federal funding for elder abuse."

Greenlee went on to underscored her support for the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, which provides community supports, such as Meals on Wheels, caregiver assistance, and transportation for senior citizens. Even with programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, there is still a need for preventative programs, like those included in the Older Americans Act.

“People Need You”

She announced her support for programs that fight ageism, a collaborative environment between providers and ombudsmen, and effective caregiver supports. Effective caregiver supports can even help after the family caregiver realizes their loved one would be better served in a senior living community.  "People need you. They need a choice of services. They need an array of options," Greenlee told the senior living advocates. "They need options to know it is not a failure if you can no longer care for your loved one at home."

“Go Advocate, Educate and Inspire”

ALFA advocates took to Capitol Hill March 7, 2012 to advocate for many of the issues discussed by Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee and other issues that further ALFA's core principles of choice, dignity, independence, affordability, and quality of life. Greenlee and many other presenters emphasized the importance of these meetings in enacting change in federal policies. Greenlee explained that her meetings with Members of Congress go much more smoothly when they have previously spoken to an advocate about senior's issues.

"I need you, and they need you," said Kathy Greenlee. "You may not know if you made a difference when you leave, but someone will come in behind you and the light bulb will go on…Go advocate, educate, and inspire."

ALFA 2012 Fly-In... Your Colleagues Said:

"I have not previously attended an ALFA Fly-In. The experience valuable and allowed for great insight in the industry as a whole. The meetings with the members of the House and Senate allowed for discussion on topics meaningful to our industry and the aging population in our Country. I left the Fly-In feeling inspired and that united, in our industry, we truly make a difference". - Kimberly Johnson, Senior Executive Director, Benchmark Senior Living.

"The ALFA Advocacy Fly-in is the premier event in the senior living profession where senior management is briefed on leading legislative issues by experts, including policy makers themselves. I am unaware of any advocacy event in our profession that can match ALFA's Fly-in for its impact on legislation and policy-making". - G. Leader, CEO, Country Meadows.

"The Congressmen and legislative staff members that we met with were very receptive. They listened and asked great questions. More importantly, the visits to Congressional Offices on Capitol Hill quickly resulted in visits by Congressmen to our communities". - Rick Banas, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, BMA Management, Ltd.

"I believe this is an invaluable experience to educate legislators, as well as establish relationships with congressional staff. The partnerships with the LAs will pay dividends in the future. I would just like to see greater participation by providers". -Kristen Bolling, Director of Operations, Greenfield Senior Living.

"This is a great event and I will continue to participate to support the industry". - Amy Jeffs, COO, Status Solutions.

"This is my second time at the Fly-In. I find it to be an incredibly valuable experience and am continually learning how crucial it is to educate our legislators on the complexities and needs of the senior care industry. I definitely enjoyed the talk from the Assistant Secretary (Dept of Aging) - she drove home the point of how our efforts don't only help individual issues or causes, but are helpful on a bigger ("big picture") scale". - Linda Yoon, Licensing Specialist, Emeritus Senior Living.

"Having participated in Fly-Ins for four or five years now, I can say that every year is successful and enjoyable. Although I leave each year thinking it couldn't get any better, this year the ALFA team found a way to make a great event even better. The venues were special, the speakers excellent, even inspiring, and the schedules perfectly timed and coordinated. You are raising the bar for all of us. Congratulations. We can't wait to come back next year". - Ging Landy, Director/Principal, NY ALFA/Hodes & Landy.

"I thought it was fantastic. Just like last year, it was a chance at some great education on our industry, and the bigger picture of how important things get done in Washington. It's certainly nice to be involved with a large group of people who are all headed in the same direction and doing good things for good people, seniors!" - Todd Hudgins, VP of Business Development, Tel-Tron Technologies.

"The ALFA Fly-in was a well organized and well presented event. The meeting schedule was flawless and well thought out as an incredible amount of organization and preparation was clearly put into this event. Thank you to everyone involved at ALFA. The post training and meeting social events were also very well done and allowed great venues for conversation and relationship building". - Chris Golen, Regional Director of Operations, Benchmark Senior Living.

View photos and read a synopsis of the 2012 ALFA Advocacy Fly-In.

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Each year, the Senior Living Executive Conference welcomes thousands of senior living professionals from around the world for four days of executive education, networking, problem solving and idea development. Registration, photos, recaps, and more informations are available on the Conference website.