News/Press Releases

Trump Administration’s 2020 Budget Request “Deeply Troubling” for Older Americans, AGS

New York (March 14, 2019)—Trillions of dollars in cuts to everything from the nation’s largest insurer to programs for training more health professionals already in short supply round out a 2020 budget proposal that is “deeply troubling for older Americans, their families, and their health professionals,” so say experts from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). In comments posted today, the AGS raised several such concerns about priorities outlined in President Trump’s “Budget for a Better America,” a proposal falling far short of its name as it seeks to shrink or even eliminate health training, health research, health coverage, and health services for older adults in communities across the U.S.

“Even though this proposal is just a ‘wish list’ for now, it sends a troubling message” said Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA, Chief Executive Officer of the AGS. “That’s why we’re urging everyone to let the White House and Congress know that cutting supports for older adults now cuts care for us all as we age.”

In assessing the Trump Administration’s proposal released earlier this week, the AGS raised its most significant objections to:

New NIH Research Policy Seeks Greater “Inclusion Across Lifespan”; AGS Editorial Explains How…And Why

New York (Feb. 8, 2019)—The pipeline of research supporting care as we age is about to look a bit more like the country it serves—and for good reason. Beginning this year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), America’s premier institution for medical research, will for the first time in its history require NIH-funded scholars to eliminate arbitrary age limits in their work, age limits that previously allowed for excluding groups like older people without just cause. A series of articles recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) explores how the change came to fruition—in large part thanks to advocacy from organizations like the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and its member experts—and why the change matters, particularly in a world where living longer is possible thanks to past breakthroughs originating at the NIH.

“Clinical research, much of it championed by NIH scientists, has made increased longevity with less morbidity a tangible reality,” said William Dale, MD, PhD, one of the co-authors for an article describing the policy change. “To keep up that momentum, we need greater attention to age in current and future scholarship. We all have unique physiological changes and medical care needs as we get older, and the insights we gain working with older people today will teach us how to be healthier tomorrow.”

Report from Prestigious NIH-Funded Conference Looks to Biological “Pillars of Aging” for Better Grasp of Health

New York (Feb. 7, 2019)—Medical care for older adults has long focused on preventing and treating chronic diseases and the conditions that come with them. But now, geriatrics researchers and clinicians hope a new understanding—one honed at a prestigious conference hosted by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), with support from The John A. Hartford Foundation—can lead to better and more effective interventions by targeting the aging process itself rather than discrete conditions or concerns.

“Aging is complex and varies from one person to the next, but there’s a growing body of evidence that aging itself is driven by interconnected biological factors we call ‘hallmarks’ or ‘pillars,’” said Christopher Carpenter, MD, MSc, FACEP, FAAEM, AGSF, one of the co-authors of a report on the conference. “We believe disrupting these hallmarks—which cover everything from the stability of our genes to ways our cells communicate—can contribute to chronic disease and frailty, which is why a better understanding of how they work is so important.”

Progress with Geriatrics Legislation Highlights Bipartisan Collaboration for Care We Need as We Age—AGS

New York (Jan. 31, 2019)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today offered a ringing endorsement of the bipartisan Geriatrics Workforce Improvement Act, a proposal in the U.S. Senate to ensure communities across the U.S. have access to health professionals and other critical supports improving care for us all as we age.

Introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), the bill aims to address the shortage of health professionals expertly trained to care for older people, and also advances supports for older adults, caregivers, and the interprofessional teams responsible for delivering high-quality care. The bill draws on considerable insights from the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA), a collaborative comprised of more than 30 member organizations, including the AGS, reflecting the diverse expertise of millions of professionals who support health and aging for older Americans.

“The future we’re working for at the AGS—a future when all older Americans have access to high-quality, person-centered care—begins by building the workforce to make that possible, and by ensuring that workforce can connect us to the tools and supports we need as we age,” notes AGS Chief Executive Officer Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA. “We commend Sens. Collins and Casey for working with us and our partners to make that future a reality with the Geriatrics Workforce Improvement Act. By standing behind this legislation, we’re committed to a future when all Americans can look forward to affordable, high-quality, and person-centered care.”

For Older People, Medications Are Common; Updated AGS Beers Criteria® Aims to Make Sure They’re Appropriate, Too

New York (Jan. 31, 2019)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today unveiled its latest update to one of geriatrics’ most frequently cited reference tools: The AGS Beers Criteria® for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults. With more than 90% of older people using at least one prescription and more than 66% using three or more in any given month,1 the AGS Beers Criteria®—a compendium of medications potentially to avoid or consider with caution because they often present an unfavorable balance of benefits and harms for older people—plays a vital role in helping health professionals, older adults, and caregivers work together to ensure medications are appropriate.

“Medications play an important role in health and wellbeing for many older people,” noted Donna M. Fick, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, a co-chair of the expert panel responsible for the 2019 AGS Beers Criteria®. “With this new update, we hope the latest information on what makes medications appropriate for older people can play an equally important role in decisions about treatment options that meets the needs of older adults while also keeping them as safe as possible.”