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July 13, 2015
Contact: HHS Press Office

Aging in 2015: HHS and the White House Conference on Aging

Today’s White House Conference on Aging is focusing on the issues facing every American as they plan for retirement, care for older loved ones, and improving the quality of life for older Americans. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is engaged in the government-wide initiative to develop programs and provide funding and resources to help older adults live independent and fulfilling lives.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, HHS today is announcing several programs designed to enhance the lives of older Americans and provide resources to their families, friends and other caregivers.

Today’s HHS announcements include:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is proposing a rule to update, for the first time in nearly 25 years, the quality and safety requirements for more than 15,000 nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities to improve quality of life, enhance person-centered care and services for residents in nursing homes, improve resident safety, and bring these regulatory requirements into closer alignment with current professional standards

The National Institutes of Health is partnering with a diverse group of public and private partners to promote healthy aging through its Go4Life exercise and physical activity campaign for older adults, including a call by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, which represents State and territorial public health agencies, for all State and territorial health departments to support physical activity events for older adults beginning with Go4Life Month in September 2015.

The National Prevention Council, chaired by the Surgeon General and made up of 20 federal departments, developed the National Prevention Strategy to guide the nation in implementing the most effective strategies for improving health and well-being.  Today, the Council is announcing that in the Spring of 2016 it will release a Healthy Aging Action Plan to advance the National Prevention Strategy, which will identify federal action steps to promote prevention and well-being among older Americans.

To combat Alzheimer’s and other dementias, HHS is announcing an update of the National Plan to address Alzheimer’s Disease. The update includes priority actions that the government will take over the next year to address these conditions.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is announcing that it will create an Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias training curriculum to build a health care workforce with the necessary skills to provide high quality dementia care and ensure timely and accurate detection and diagnosis of dementia.

The Office of Women’s Health is developing relatedtraining to help family caregivers maximize their own health and address specific care needs of persons with dementia. The curriculum will be released next year.

The Surgeon General is joining with the YMCA to announce a partnership for where YMCA associations across the country to host intergenerational physical activity events during the first week of August to promote opportunities for young and older Americans to be active together.

The Administration on Community Living is launching a $4 million Brain Health Awareness Campaign to help older adults better understand changes that occur in the brain as people age and reduce the fear of discussing concerns with family members and clinicians.

To reduce the occurrence of preventable injuries such as falls, which affect one in three older adults every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching a free on-line course offering continuing education credits to physicians, nurses and other health professionals on making falls prevention a routine part of clinical care. The CDC’s evidence-based falls prevention tool, known as STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries) will be implemented across the country. 

In an effort to help older Americans stay healthy, HRSA is announcing $35 million in awards to health professions training programs to expand geriatrics education to prepare the health care workforce to respond to the needs associated with advancing age. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is partnering with AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Association of Family Physicians, the National Black Nurses Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the Partnership to Prevent Chronic Disease, the National Council on Aging, the National Hispanic Council on Aging and SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) to disseminate information to patients and members on Medicare's preventive benefits.  Efforts to increase use of recommended preventive services will include, for example, co-branding CMS publications on preventive services and distributing a user-friendly check list to help Medicare beneficiaries understand and use their Medicare preventive benefits.

In order to improve the science on understanding and preventing elder abuse, the National Institutes of Health will convene a state of the science workshop on elder abuse with researchers, clinicians, and others to review the science on understanding and preventing  abuse;  screening tools to identify abuse victims;  effective interventions and research in related areas like child abuse and domestic violence that might inform research on elder abuse; and gaps and opportunities in this field of research.  The aim of this workshop is to bring together a diverse set of stakeholders and determine promising avenues of research that could benefit from immediate investment.

 Aging.gov is a new resource site launched today in conjunction with the White House Conference on Aging. For more information on resources and topics to help older adults live independent and fulfilling lives such as healthy aging, elder justice, long-term care, and vital programs like Social Security and Medicare visit http://www.aging.gov

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at https://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: July 13, 2015

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