CDC has funded the following programs and organizations to support
healthy aging activities.
Examples of Network Innovation, Opportunity, and Replication (SENIOR)
Initiated in 2003 as a result of the recommendations made in the
Aging States Report* (PDF- 294K) CDC and the Administration on Aging
through the Chronic Disease Directors and the National Association of
State Units on Aging are supporting partnerships between state health
departments and state units on aging to implement health promotion and
disease prevention activities for older adults. Funded states are
drawing on evidence-based prevention program in one of three areas:
physical activity, preventive services, and disease-self management.
In addition, oral health assessment and promotion has been added as an
area of focus. The projects, focused in selected communities within each
state, are funded as one year demonstration projects.
- Sickness Prevention
Achieved through Regional Collaboration (SPARC)*
SPARC is a locally based collaboration dedicated to helping all
residents of the region extend and improve the quality of their lives
through disease prevention. The program is active throughout Berkshire
County, Massachusetts; Columbia and Dutchess counties, New York; and
Litchfield County, Connecticut. SPARC brings together medical and
public health practitioners to create local strategies to increase the
availability and use of preventive care services. These efforts are
strengthened by the participation of community associations,
businesses, and local, state, and federal agencies.
* Links to non-federal
organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. Links do not
constitute an endorsement of any organization by CDC or the federal
government, and none should be inferred. The CDC is not responsible for
the content of the individual organization Web pages found at this link.
- American Society on Aging (ASA)*
ASA recently completed a 5-year project funded by CDC to develop
and disseminate Live Long, Live Well: Health Promotion & Disease
Prevention for Older Adults, a web-based series of modules that provide
tools and strategies to impact older adult health at the community
level. The web-based modules*
allow health promotion professionals to create a cafeteria-style,
customized manual that addresses local community health needs. Topics
range from general principles of health promotion and disease prevention
to specific conditions that impact older adults: such as, medication
management, mental wellness, cognitive vitality, diabetes, physical
activity, and driver safety.
During the Live Long, Live Well project CDC also began a collaboration
with ASA and the Journalists Exchange on Aging (JEoA) to identify
significant health topics of interest to journalists who write about
aging-related issues. The Spyglass on Aging media project initiative has
combined CDC's expertise in public health science and health promotion
interventions for older adults and ASA's ability to present scientific
information in a manner that journalists from the JEoA can readily use
for writing stories about key public health topics.
Media backgrounders* are available
on 13 topics. Materials and media
background pieces are disseminated so local, regional, and
national journalists can write about the current activities in healthy
aging occurring at CDC for their hometown audiences. This project has
culminated with annual presentations made by CDC scientists on the
various background topics at the National Council on Aging/American
Society on Aging joint national conference since 2002.
Brief descriptions of each media backgrounder are presented below.
Spyglass on Aging V (spring 2006)
CDC Brain Health Initiative Focuses on Emerging Research on Cognitive
Vitality – The latest research, including a literature review
released by the NIH Cognitive and Emotional Health Project in early
2006, shows that cognitive decline is not an inevitable part of aging
and that there are things people can do to prevent decline. Some
aspects of cognition, such as wisdom, actually improve with age.
Maintaining cognitive vitality – memory, thinking skills, and mental
function – is related to staying physically and socially active,
reducing your cardiovascular risk factors (weight, blood pressure,
etc.), and perhaps other things as well. The public has heard these
messages before, but now there is yet another good reason to heed them.
With baby boomers entering their retirement years and wanting to remain
active, more people may be more willing to take steps now to help retain
their cognitive vitality as they age. What can they do? How does
prevention work? This backgrounder will give insight into these
Epilepsy Among Older Adults: Underdiagnosed and Undertreated –
The myths and negative stereotypes surrounding epilepsy continue to this
day, and now we learn that epilepsy is a common and growing problem
among older adults, with a severe detriment to their quality of life.
Yet with simple treatment, most older adults with epilepsy can continue
to live a normal life. The symptoms of epilepsy – strange feelings,
memory blanks, behavioral changes, an unaccountable loss of time,
staring, temporary confusion or seizures – may be more subtle in older
adults, leading to underrecognition and undertreatment of this
condition. This backgrounder looks at why epilepsy is increasing among
older adults, what can be done to improve diagnosis of epilepsy, how to
respond to a person having a seizure, and what communities can do to
improve their response.
Spyglass on Aging IV (spring 2005)
CDC Aims to Prevent Oral Diseases Among Older Americans – There
is more at stake for oral health than an attractive smile and
cavity-free teeth. Oral problems can lead to needless pain and
suffering; difficulty speaking, chewing, and swallowing; loss of
self-esteem; mouth and throat cancers; periodontal (gum) diseases;
and higher health care costs. Older adults generally know the importance
of brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups to maintain good oral
health. Seniors also should be aware that fluoride is not just for kids,
but protects against tooth decay at all ages. Older adults also should
avoid smoking or other tobacco products, use alcohol only in moderation,
and be conscious of maintaining a nutritious diet even if they have lost
teeth and have a more difficult time chewing fresh fruit and vegetables.
Lifelong dedication to these habits can help ensure healthy teeth and
good oral health for a lifetime.
CDC Encourages Community Actions to Help Individuals Adopt
Heart-Healthy Lifestyles – CDC urges communities and states to take
action to ensure more smoke-free areas, better parks and walking
courses, free blood pressure screenings, more vending machines and
cafeterias offering heart-healthy options, health insurance plans that
focus on preventive care, and education programs targeting all ages,
starting with children in school to prevent heart disease.
Spyglass on Aging III (spring 2004)
CDC Encourages Older Adults to Use Physical Activity and
Self-Management to Reduce Symptoms of Arthritis – Arthritis affects
21.4 million older adults and is the leading cause of disability among
all U.S. adults. Physical activity, weight loss and other
self-management techniques, along with good medical care, are the keys
to coping with arthritis and improving the quality of life for people
CDC Being More Aggressive in Efforts to Prevent 2 Million Infections
Caught in Hospitals Annually – The CDC is promoting an aggressive
campaign to combat hospital infections with some key recommendations:
prevent infections; diagnose and treat infections appropriately; use
antibiotics wisely; and prevent transmission.
Spyglass on Aging II (spring 2003)
CDC Alerts Public to Multi-Generational Birth Defects and Cancer
Caused by DES, a Drug Administered to Pregnant Mothers until 1971 –
Diethylstilbestrol, (DES), a synthetic estrogen, once offered great hope
to a generation of women who had suffered miscarriages or premature
deliveries. But years later, this promise turned into a threat to the
health of women who took DES during pregnancy and to that of their
CDC’s Initiative on Physical Activity Targets Huge Percentage of
Elders Who Are Sedentary – Adults age 50 years and older, like many
Americans, are confused about the need for and importance of physical
activity in maintaining their health and well-being. But the evidence on
physical activity shows that it is important for preventing and treating
many chronic diseases – and it can reduce health care costs.
CDC Says Immunizations Could Reduce Deaths from Influenza and
Pneumococcal Disease Among Older Adults (updated in 2004) –
Older adults and most other Americans should seek vaccination annually
against influenza. Older adults are especially vulnerable. CDC reports
that older adults comprise 90 percent of the 36,000 deaths that occur on
average each year from influenza complications. The best way to prevent
influenza is to get an annual vaccination.
CDC’s Message to Older Americans about West Nile Virus: Protect
Yourself, but Don’t Panic (updated in 2004) – The West Nile
Virus (WNV) is now a feature of summer life throughout the United
States, along with swimming and picnics. West Nile Virus shouldn’t deter
anyone from summer’s outdoor activities, but it should motivate people
to take some simple steps; such as, 1) applying insect repellent
containing DEET (Look for N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide); 2) when possible,
wear long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors to reduce the
amount of bare skin exposed to mosquitoes and; 3) reduce the amount of
time outdoors during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most
Spyglass on Aging (spring 2002)
CDC Aims to Minimize Disability, Maximize Functioning for Older
Americans – More than 54 million Americans—over half of them aged 65
or older—have at least one disability. The number of older people facing
disabling conditions is likely to rise with the aging of the U.S.
population even though recent research has shown that the rate of
disability among people over 65 years of age may be declining. CDC is examining
wide-ranging issues on several fronts including ways to increase the
health-enhancing social participation of elders; improve the
accessibility of health and wellness programs for seniors; and reduce
depression, which compounds the effects of disabling conditions.
Diabetes and Aging – How CDC Is Working to Control and Prevent a $98
Billion Problem Affecting 7 Million Older Americans – Recent
research shows that diabetes can often be prevented or delayed, even
among older adults at high risk for the illness. CDC is not only
tracking this epidemic disease, but is also putting science into
practice through a national education program, state diabetes control
centers, and other initiatives.
CDC Initiative Aims to Prevent Falls Among Older Americans Costing
$20 Billion a Year in Devastating Injuries and Deaths (updated in
2004) – CDC is heading efforts to address older adults’ risk for
injuries, especially falls, which are the leading cause of
injury-related death among the older population. The agency takes a
comprehensive approach to tackling this public health issue by funding
research on the causes and prevention of falls and fall-related
injuries, educational efforts, and state and local projects to develop
and evaluate community interventions.
last reviewed: October 21, 2008
Page last modified: October 21, 2008
Content source: Division of Adult
and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and