Perspectives: Honoring the Journey of Growing Older: Reflections from the 2020 Forum

Date Updated: 10/28/2020

Last week, The SCAN Foundation hosted its 10th annual forum—a convening for advocates, consumers, providers, state leaders, media, and many others who work to improve the aging experience. This year’s 2020 Forum, “Honoring the Journey of Growing Older,” delivered a virtual, two-day experience filled with insights, innovations, and imperatives to advance person-centered care.

The Forum decisively brought the voice of consumers to center stage, hearing from older adults and people with disabilities about what matters most, particularly in light of COVID-19. Former First Lady of California Maria Shriver shared her passion and excitement for California’s pending Master Plan for Aging and its alignment with the state’s Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force—ensuring that these two governor-led initiatives are boldly woven together and can serve as a model for other states. We heard from California State Treasurer Fiona Ma who provided both a personal and professional perspective on family caregiving, especially its impact on state policy and financing. For the fourth year in a row, we honored the value of local-level leadership, awarding our 2020 Innovation Award to DayBreak Adult Care Centers in Alameda County for its comprehensive programming to improve the lives of older adults and people disabilities.

Discussions were anchored in California’s ninth place ranking on the latest AARP LTSS State Scorecard that measures how well states are performing to achieve a high-quality system of long-term services and supports (LTSS) for older adults, people with disabilities, and their family caregivers. On the national front, we heard from experts on how Medicare is evolving to meet non-medical needs to improve health outcomes. Together, we also explored ways to engage designers, entrepreneurs, and investors to reimagine the possibilities for improving the aging experience.

Finally, we expanded beyond our traditional boundaries to bring a new vibrancy to our signature, annual event. To accomplish this, we showcased the arts and its contribution to recasting the aging narrative through song and poetry.

In its entirety, the 2020 Forum offered a reflecting point for how far we as a community have come, the challenges we face ahead, and the strength we have to continue on the next steps of our collective journey.

Bruce Chernof, MD, President and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, dedicated to creating a society where older adults can access health and supportive services of their choosing to meet their needs. The Perspectives Series provides opinions and observations about transforming the way in which we age. Follow Dr. Bruce on Twitter @DrBruce_TSF.


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