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Congress must protect funds for aging America, advocates say
Date:9/27/2011

America's experts on aging are headed for meetings with their senators and representatives to underscore the needs of the country's senior population, spurred by the first-ever Take Action Week organized by The Gerontological Society of America the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging.

During the September 26 congressional district work period, these advocates will urge their elected leaders to secure funding for aging research and education, as well as reauthorize the Older Americans Act.

"Take Action Week will allow our best and brightest researchers, educators, and practitioners to highlight the importance of their work to improve the quality of life for persons as they age," said Greg O'Neill, PhD, director of GSA's policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society. "The challenges and opportunities presented by America's growing senior population must have a prominent spot on the national agenda."

One of the chief messages that Take Action Week participants will share is that Congress must not make cuts to crucial government-funded aging research, which is heavily concentrated in the National Institute on Aging. The number of Americans age 65 and older will make up 20 percent of the population by 2030. Late-in-life conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and dementia, heart disease, and osteoporosis are increasingly driving the need for health care services in this country. Preventing, treating or curing chronic diseases achieved through adequately funded biomedical research is the single-most effective strategy in reducing the costs of these services, the advocates will argue.

Similarly, safeguarding support for education and training will be on the Take Action Week agenda. "Retooling for an Aging America," a 2008 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), stated that America's aging citizens are facing a health care workforce too small and u
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Contact: Todd Kluss
tkluss@geron.org
202-587-2839
The Gerontological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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