OKLAHOMA CAPITOL -- Dr. William H. Thomas, international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare and founder of the Eden Alternative nursing home care concept, will be the featured keynote speaker at the annual Senior Day at the Capitol, April 10, 2006. Activities begin at 9:15 a.m. in the House of Representatives Chambers.
Seniors can visit exhibits on display in the fourth floor rotunda, hear Thomas speak on how to make communities more livable for older Oklahomans and speak with state legislators regarding our state’s rapidly growing senior population.
To make Oklahoma communities more livable for older persons, the organizations sponsoring Senior Day are calling for substantial funding increases for direct care staffing, in-home and community-based services, ADvantage Waiver services, the Personal Care program and the Adult Day Services Program. Funding increases also are needed for transportation, nutrition and home-delivered meals through the statewide aging network, and for providing funds to assist grandparents and other relatives who are raising children.
Participants will also be talking to their legislators about the impact that cuts in state funding have on programs and agencies providing services to the state’s elderly population. Older Oklahomans will be making a call for action by the legislature to better address their needs. Census data indicates that between the years 2000 to 2015, the population of those over age 65 is expected to grow at nearly three times the rate of the overall population.
Sponsors for the event, which has been held each year for more than 20 years, include AARP, the Oklahoma Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, Oklahoma State Council on Aging, Oklahoma Alliance on Aging, Oklahoma Retired Educators Association, Oklahoma Association of Area Agencies on Aging and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division.
Keynote speaker Thomas travels the country as a consultant for AARP, speaking on the issues of aging and the aged, as well as the wise use of pharmaceuticals. His latest book, “What Are Old People For? How Elders Will Save the World,” was written under a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is also the author of “Life Worth Living,” written in 1996 and recipient of the book of the year by the American Journal of Nursing.
In 1997, Thomas won the America’s Award, also referred to as the Nobel Prize for Goodness, established by Norman Vincent Peal. The Giraffe Project, a program that gives awards to people who stick their neck out to advance the common good, has also honored him.
For more information about Senior Day at the Capitol, contact the OKDHS Aging Services Division at 405-522-3121 or call the Senior Info Line at 1-800-211-2116.