News/Press Releases

AGS Experts: Here’s What Older Adults Need for a “Reopened” U.S. That Can Serve Us All as We Age

New York (April 22, 2020)—As federal and state officials announce plans for reopening the U.S., the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) reiterates important priorities for reopening a country where more individuals than ever before are older adults.

Today’s U.S. is home to more than 50 million people 65-years-old and older, and tomorrow’s U.S. is building the momentum we need for millions more to contribute to our communities as we age. But today’s U.S. also has seen the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardize that progress in critical ways. At present, more than 30 percent of COVID-19 cases involve older people, who also account for 45 percent of hospitalizations, 53 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and 80 percent of deaths.

As we look to reopen a country that ensures we remain as safe, healthy, independent, and engaged as possible as we age, AGS experts encourage federal, state, and local authorities to anchor plans in better health and care for us all:

COVID-19 UPDATE: In New Letters to Congress & Administration, AGS Reiterates Urgent Call for Medical Supplies, Telehealth

New York (April 17, 2020)—In a new series of letters sent yesterday to Congressional leaders, Vice President Pence, and White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx, MD, experts at the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) continued to reinforce the need for medical supplies, telehealth, expertise in older adult care, and a range of other priorities as the federal government plans the next phase of America’s response to COVID-19. As diverse as these important focal points are, they highlight a key theme that crosscuts the pandemic: Building momentum for older adult care builds momentum for us all.

AGS COVID-19 Policy Brief Offers Roadmap to Government Action for a Critical Group: Older Adults in Nursing Homes

New York (April 8, 2020)—In a policy brief published today in its namesake journal (DOI: 10.1111/jgs.16477), the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) offered a roadmap to guide federal, state, and local governments addressing COVID-19 concerns for a critical—and critically impacted—group: Older adults in nursing homes and long-term care. The brief outlined recommendations based on the latest research and guidance, encompassing actions on resource needs, patient transfers, priorities for public health, and opportunities to better empower health workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 care.

“As we’ve already learned, outbreaks in nursing homes are a foreseeable consequence of this pandemic, even with experts working as valiantly as they are,” notes AGS President-Elect Annie Medina-Walpole, MD, AGSF. “We hope this brief can help policymakers, advocates, and clinicians look at but also beyond the circumstances we can control—and those we can’t—to prioritize the innovation, collaboration, and compassion that can put key patients and public health first. That’s a cardinal direction for planning in crisis and in calm, for nursing home residents but also for us all as we age.”

UPDATE: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Highlights "ABCDs" of COVID-19 for Older Adults, Long-Term Care

UPDATE (April 3, 2020): The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published the following update to the original special article highlighted below.

New York (March 27, 2020)—The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) this week rushed to publication a special article describing critical points for combatting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic for older adults and those in long-term care.

The article offers a summary of current information and evidence, noting the imperative for understanding and acting upon the “ABCDs” of the COVID-19 crisis:

UPDATE: COVID-19 Stimulus Signed into Law, Bringing Momentum for Economy & Important Bright Spot for Geriatrics

New York (March 27, 2020)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today commended Congress and President Trump for supporting critical efforts to expand geriatrics expertise through the more than $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package (S. 3548). 

“Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, social workers, and all our geriatrics experts are vital—not just to the U.S. economy but also to our health, safety, and independence, which make our economy what it is,” noted AGS CEO Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA. “As we continue to review the stimulus in detail, we applaud Senators Bob Casey and Susan Collins, as well as Representatives Michael Burgess and Jan Schakowsky, who were instrumental in helping prioritize long-term solutions serving older adults in this rapid response to COVID-19.”

The proposals included in the COVID-19 package incorporate language from the earlier proposed Title VII Health Care Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S. 2997) in the Senate and Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness (EMPOWER) for Health Act of 2019 (H.R. 2781) in the House. While AGS experts remain pleased to see the GWEPs and GACAs reauthorized, they did express concern that the final authorizing level of $40.7 million could compromise the future success of both programs. The AGS continues to advocate for increased funding totaling $51 million, which would do much to close the current geographic and demographic gaps in geriatrics workforce training.