By: Richard J. Hodes, M.D., Director, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health
The White House Conference on Aging happening today at the White House occurs once per decade. But at the National Institutes of Health, particularly at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), we work on research every day related to understanding the nature of aging, supporting the health and well-being of older adults, and extending healthy, active years of life for more people.
We were proud to partner with the White House Conference on Aging to bring more awareness to the issues surrounding aging in America. I traveled to Phoenix for the second regional forum where I was pleased to be able to engage in a conversation with older adults, families, caregivers, and researchers in the field of aging.
Today, as part of the Conference, the National Institutes of Health is proud to announce that this fall, we 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.
In addition to the elder abuse workshop, NIH 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 the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, which has issued a call to all State and territorial health departments to conduct physical activity events for older adults beginning with Go4Life Month in September, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is funding activities and educational materials to support the ongoing Go4Life campaign.
Finally, we are pleased to celebrate the 2015 Update to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, reflecting our nation’s progress toward accomplishing goals set in 2012 and current action steps to achieving them. To speed discovery of a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, NIH has developed research agenda recommendations. Resulting from the NIH-convened Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2015: Path to Treatment and Prevention held this past February, these recommendations, based on input from dementia experts from academia, industry and advocacy groups, provide a framework for a bold and transformative Alzheimer’s disease research agenda over the next few years that will help the research community meet the goals of the National Plan.
Today’s conference at the White House is an important opportunity to bring more awareness and attention to the issues surrounding aging. The team at the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging is looking forward to the innovative ideas that come from today’s conference.