Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Planning for an Aging Society

Professor Andy Scharlach.

The state of California, whose 34 million citizens represent one of the most racially and ethnically diverse populations in the United States and internationally, recently completed a Long Range Strategic Plan on Aging, addressing the impending demographic, economic, and social changes triggered by California's aging and increasingly diverse population. Development of this plan involved a comprehensive analysis of existing knowledge regarding the current and projected future needs of the aging population, the availability of resources to meet anticipated future needs, and fiscal projections of the effects of population aging on future state budgets. Background papers examined projected changes with regard to a range of topics associated with the aging of the population, including health status, mental status, quality of life, economic well-being, work and retirement, housing, mobility, long-term care, residential care, and family caregiving. Research reports that summarize existing knowledge and suggest policy directions in each of these areas were developed. The analysis was facilitated by new demographic forecasts, based on innovative statistical methods that allowed examination of more than 10,000 possible future scenarios.

Professor Scharlach, who is a Commissioner of Aging for California and chaired the University of California task force which helped to develop the Long Range Strategic Plan on Aging, will describe the Plan and its implications. Particular attention will be given to the philosophical and cultural viewpoints which emerged in the process of developing the Plan, and the ways in which the Plan attempted to balance issues of equity, social justice, individualism, and communal responsibility. Implications for political discourse regarding the emerging meaning of age and aging will be discussed.


Professor Andy Scharlach  (United States)
Kleiner Professor of Aging
School of Social Welfare
University of California

Andrew E. Scharlach is a Professor of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley, where he holds the Eugene and Rose Kleiner Chair in Aging and directs the Gerontology specialization in the School of Social Welfare. He also serves as Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Aging Services, which conducts research designed to inform development of innovative and effective services for older adults. Dr. Scharlach has published extensively on the needs of older adults and their families, particularly with regard to long-term care services, work and family responsibilities, bereavement, and gerontological social work education.

  • Aging
  • Long-Range Plan
  • Political Discourse
  • Philosophical Perspectives on Aging
  • The Meaning of Age

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)