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Arizona Healthy Aging (A-HA)

Legislation Overview

The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) have just released new guidelines aimed at preventing serious and potentially deadly falls among older adults. Roughly a third of Americans 65 and older fall each year, and 10 to 20 percent of those who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries that limit their mobility and threaten their independence. Fall-related injuries are one of the leading causes of death for older Americans, accounting for more than 10,000 deaths annually.

"Numerous studies have found that several types of interventions are effective at reducing the incidence of falls," says the AGS' Mary E. Tinetti, MD, of Yale University Medical School, one of the world's leading experts on falls among the elderly. "There is also evidence that some fall prevention interventions reduce the incidence of related injuries, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, nursing home placement, and functional losses among older adults. To see the guidelines go to: American Geriatrics.org

Of special interest to HACN partners working in the focus area of injury prevention, The Safety of Seniors Act of 2007 became Public Law No: 110-202 on April 23, 2008.

Originally introduced as The Keeping Seniors Safe From Falls Act of 2007, the Safety of Seniors Act of 2007 was introduced on March 12, 2007 by Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY) and was Co-sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD); additional Co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), and Herb Kohl (D-WI). The legislation was passed as amended (SA 2622) by unanimous consent on August 1, 2007, presented to President George W. Bush on April 14, 2008, and became Public Law No: 110-202 on April 23, 2008.

Specifically, Public Law No: 110-202

  • Amends the Public Health Service Act to authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to: (1) oversee and support a national education campaign focusing on reducing falls among older adults and preventing repeat falls; and (2) award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements to design and carry out local education campaigns.
  • Allows the Secretary to conduct and support research to: (1) improve the identification of older adults who have a high risk of falling; (2) improve data collection and analysis to identify fall risk and protective factors; (3) design, implement, and evaluate the most effective fall prevention interventions; (4) tailor effective strategies to reduce falls to specific populations of older adults; (5) maximize the dissemination of proven, effective fall prevention interventions; (6) improve the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of elderly fall victims and older adults at high risk for falls; and (7) assess the risks of falls occurring in various settings.
  • Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) conduct research concerning the barriers to the adoption of proven fall prevention interventions; (2) conduct research to develop, implement, and evaluate the most effective approaches to reduce falls among high-risk older adults living in communities and long-term care and assisted living facilities; (3) evaluate the effectiveness of community programs; (4) provide professional education for physicians and allied health professionals in fall prevention; (5) oversee and support specified demonstration and research projects; (6) award grants to design, implement, and evaluate fall prevention programs using proven intervention strategies and carry out a multi-state demonstration project; (7) give priority in awarding grants under this Act to entities that explore the use of cost-sharing to ensure the institutional commitment of the recipients of such assistance to the funded projects; and (8) report to Congress on the effects of falls on health care costs, the potential for reducing falls, and the most effective strategies for reducing associated health care costs.

The NCOA Active Options Web Tool is designed to be an online resource for older adults to find opportunities for physical activity in their neighborhoods. Currently the Healthy Aging Communication Network has a workgroup dedicated to populating the tool for Arizona. This group meets regularly via the web.

Boomer Century 1946-2046 is the PBS web site for a two-hour documentary that looks to the baby boomers' past for clues to how this generation of 78 million Americans will shape the future. In addition to programming information, the web site contains a fact sheet: 10 Things You May Not Know About Boomers Today & a Boomer's Time Line. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Merck Company Foundation have recently released the State of Aging and Health in America Report 2007 and posted a State by State Report Card on Healthy Aging: Interactive Map Supplement at CDC Healthy Aging. The CDC "report card" shows whether individual states are meeting federal targets for various health indicators. See how Arizona is ranked by clicking on the interactive map.

Aging 2020, Arizona's Plan for an Aging Population

By 2020, at least one in four Arizonans will be over age 60. How Arizona can best prepare to address the challenges and opportunities of an aging population is the focus of Aging 2020 – an initiative that Governor Janet Napolitano created through Executive Order 2004-07 in March 2004. It directs state agencies to develop plans to address the needs of Arizona’s rapidly growing population of senior citizens over the next 15 years. Healthy Aging 2020

Governor Janet Napolitano created an Executive Order for the creation of Aging 2020, a plan to prepare the state for the significant changes that will occur with the increase in the state's over-65 population in the next 15 years.

  • By 2020, 26 percent of Arizona's population will be over 60 years of age compared to 17 percent in 2003.
  • Even though older individuals are healthier than ever before, their collective need for health care will increase significantly over the next three decades.
  • In order to maintain healthy communities and a strong economic environment, it is critical that Arizona be prepared for the significant changes that will take place in the state's demographics in the coming years.