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Contact Info

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Healthy Aging Program
4770 Buford Highway, N.E., Mailstop K-45
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717

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We are not able to answer personal medical questions. Please see your health care provider concerning appropriate care, treatment, or other medical advice.


CDC-Funded ProjectsHappy, smiling woman at the beach

CDC has funded the following programs and organizations to support healthy aging activities.

  • State-Based Examples of Network Innovation, Opportunity, and Replication (SENIOR) Grants
    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. Learn more about PDFs.
  • 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.
  • 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 critical questions.

    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 with arthritis.

    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 children.

    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 active.

    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 years 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.
* 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.

Page 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 Health Promotion

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