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GSA Conference Wrap-Up

The Big Easy Provides New Lens on Aging

By Barbara Worthington

The Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting, hosted by the New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton Hotels, featured presentations abounding with information on aging-related research, issues, and concerns. The meeting’s theme, “New Lens on Aging: Changing Attitudes, Expanding Possibilities,” included scientific sessions, interest group meetings, poster sessions, and mentoring sessions.

More than 4,000 attendees populated the many scientific sessions on health policy, social issues, the geriatric workforce, cultural and diversity concerns, physical activity, mobility, caregiving, long term care, nutrition, frailty, technology, and environmental influences on aging. Additionally, numerous sessions focused on a multitude of medical and biological issues, such as enhancing cognitive performance, cardiovascular diseases, chronic health disorders, and neurodegenerative disease.

Topics of the Presidential Symposium series included Global Aging and Social Science Research; Emerging Biological Approaches With Potential for Extending Healthspan; New Insights Into the Role of Fatigability in the Disablement Pathway; Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program Models Engaging Federally Qualified Health Centers; and Envisioning Long Term Care: International Perspectives.

In addition to the many research findings briefings and technological updates, the sessions provided a wealth of clinically oriented information. Those addressed such areas as person-directed care planning in nursing homes; metabolic syndrome and mobility; multimorbidity and neurodegenerative disease; frailty; mobility, gait, and falls; and innovative interventions to manage behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Preparations are being completed for the 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics to be held in San Francisco in July 2017. Organizers note that it will be the largest gathering ever of aging experts.

— Barbara Worthington is editor of Today’s Geriatric Medicine.