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It Takes a Community: Aging Well in the 21st Century - Keynote Speech delivered by Martha Holstein, PhD, at Aging Care Connections Annual Luncheon.

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
October 15, 2010

Below is an excerpt from the thought-provoking and powerful keynote speech delivered by Martha Holstein, PhD, Co-Director of HMPRG's Center for Long-Term Care Reform, at Aging Care Connections’ annual luncheon held Thursday, October 14, 2010. To read the speech in its entirety, use the link below.

Download Holstein_Aging Care Connections_Keynote_10_14_10


A few weeks ago, I was talking about Social Security to a neighbor, a smart,?self-confident, politically savvy young woman. I did this because I feared, like? many others, that the now-familiar lines—it won’t be there when I need it-- will? erode political support for this essential program. So I described the program? to Erin and observed that the future of Social Security is primarily a political? and not a financial problem. To solve the financial problems is relatively easy;? to address the political problems is not. So I explained to Erin why I thought? this program was so vital and what might be done to secure its future. Among ?my arguments was this one—Social Security represents the most visible? example of a tacit compact between generations, reflecting the important but ?often submerged American value that there is something that we may call the? common good, a belief that there is not only an “I” but a “we.” A belief in the? common good is so central to how I see the world that I was startled when Erin? said, “when you used the phrase ‘common good’ I shuddered.

Task for Today

That’s what I want to talk about today--why we have lost this connection to? what unites us, and why it is so important to restore the notion of the common? good and the intergenerational solidarity that it reflects. I also want to make a? strong claim—that the human condition is more about vulnerability,?dependency, and human connectedness than it is about independence and? strength. Thus, community is essential for all of us. I will propose that a? commitment to the common good, exemplified by your aging well efforts, and? the recognition that we are all dependent are fundamental to making aging well? a more universal possibility. I will conclude with some broad ideas for how to? move toward a society where aging well is built on a firm foundation.

Use the link below to read the entire keynote speech...

Download Holstein_Aging Care Connections_Keynote_10_14_10