Jeannine English, president of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), was invited to Stony Brook University for a talk entitled, “Forget the Stereotypes: It’s a New World of Aging,” on September 30 at the Charles B. Wang Center.

The talk centered around the changing demographics of the 38 million members of her organization and millennials who are indirectly affected by the organization’s lobbying and policies.

While Stony Brook University is home to students who are below the required age of 50 to join the organization, English said that the policies and changes the organization makes for students’ parents will  directly affect students in the coming years.

Social security, Medicare and retirement savings initiative programs aim to help parents of millennials. This way, the millennials can focus on their own families without worrying about their parents’ health and economic statuses, English said.

In an interview before the event, English described her personal thoughts and the organization’s viewpoints on what needs to change in society and in legislation, such as how millennials are viewed by older generations, Social Security and how elderly family members are taken care of by their younger generations.

“We have found that there is a ‘Boomerang’ generation right now,” English said. “Students are graduating and moving back home for a few years because of the economy.”

English has four sons, two of whom are millennials themselves. “I don’t find that millennials aren’t working as hard as previous generations. My sons work all of the time and they work very hard. I see the commitment and the drive of them and their friends, as well as students I come in contact with,” English said. In the coming months, English and AARP will continue to push for legislation that will help family members who take care of their elderly relatives. “There is no long-term care system in this country,” English said.

“We rely on unpaid family members to provide caregiving, but they need to have flexibility in their work life as well as resources,” she added.

Millennials will, have to deal with the healthcare and quality of living for their parents in the next decade or two, English explained. She doesn’t believe that there is enough being done to promise a healthy and successful future for both the parents and millennials themselves when having to deal with aging parents.

One change the organization would like to implement is for hospitals to provide more information to caregivers when someone is  discharged. “This may mean the hospitals may need to give more information and training to caregivers when someone is released. That may cost the hospitals additional money but we will negotiate that with them,” English said.

AARP will be lobbying for Social Security changes through Congress. “It will be there for our children and grandchildren. We will use our 38 million members to make sure that happens, “ English said.


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