Keynote Sessions

Palliative Care in the Mainstream: Stepping up to the Plate the Case for Integrated Geriatric and Palliative Care Strategies

  • Diane Meier, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Luc Deliens, Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Ghent University
  • Irene Higginson, Kings College

This session will present the case for integrating geriatric and palliative care to deliver optimal care, improve quality and reduce costs. The speakers will outline palliative care issues common in elderly patients and integrative approaches that focus on quality of life, support for functional independence, and the patient's values and experiences. They will also identify the needs of policy makers, payers and health system leadership.

Beyond Rhetoric: Taking Global Action on Ageing

  • Norah Keating, Swansea University, North West University, University of Alberta
  • John Beard, World Health Organization
  • Peng Du, Renmin University of China
  • Isabella Aboderin, African Population and Health Research Center, Centre for Research on Ageing, University of Southampton

Population ageing is now part of our global consciousness. Yet actions to address issues that arise from these demographic shifts have lagged behind. Among the many challenges/impediments to creating global action are: diverse patterns of ageing across countries and regions; different family, community and policy contexts that influence ageing experiences; and considerable inequities both between and within countries. The purpose of this session is to create an agenda and advocate for global action to improve quality of life of older populations.

How Early Can We Detect Cognitive Disorders?

  • Ronald C. Petersen, Mayo Clinic
  • Frank Jessen, University of Cologne
  • Marilyn Albert, Johns Hopkins University

As societies are agin, changes in cognition are noted very frequently. A vexing question for most people pertains to the implication of these cognitive changes. At what point do we become concerned that changes in cognition represent incipient disease, and to what extent are we experiencing changes of “normal aging.” With growing information regarding biomarkers for disease, this distinction is becoming increasingly important. This topic will cover stages of cognitive aging, the role of biomarkers in predicting cognitive change and the role of subjective cognitive decline in predicting disease.

Genes, Environment, and Behaviors That Predict Healthy Longevity

  • Luigi Ferrucci, National Institute on Aging
  • Diana Kuh, University College London
  • S. Jay Olshansky, University of Illinois

Three speakers address factors that affect healthy longevity from complementary prospectives.

Luigi Ferrucci uses the paradigm of geroscience to propose that the biology of aging causes both chronic disease and aging phenotypes. Different genetic, environmental and behavioral backgrounds promote specific physiological impairments that in young age are compensated but in old age are causative of and heterogeneous phenotypes.

Diana Kuh argues that a life course perspective will improve our understanding of human responses to environmental challenges with long-term impact on health span and longevity. In particular, how humans adapt to the environment during development may affect how well they age and how long they live.

S Jay Olshansky discusses scientific theories about maximum life span. In the 20th century, life expectancy forecasters consistently underestimated duration of life because they assumed a biological limit to life. On the contrary more recent assumptions propose life expectancies exceeding 100 to 150 years.

Jack Watters Memorial Symposium: Coming Out as A Caregiver

  • Jane Barratt, International Federation on Ageing

Coming out as a caregiver is an anthem for carers whose voice is largely missing from the policy discussions taking place within health, social and economic forums. The ageing demographic is paired with an explosive growth of caregivers, whose numbers in many parts of the globe have yet to be tallied. The session will include internationally renowned leaders in the field of ageing who will speak to this cautionary tale from distinct cross-cultural vantage points while eliciting stories to create a richer advocacy voice focused on advancing action.

Emerging Issues in Mobility and Aging

  • Stephanie Studenski, National Institute on Aging
  • Stephen Lord, Neuroscience Research Australia

Over the last decade and more, mobility has emerged as a fundamental indicator of health during aging, gaining attention from basic, clinical, social and health services researchers as well as health care providers and systems. Where are the most important gaps in knowledge, and what are the highest impact opportunities for future work? This presentation will summarize the state of the art and explore future directions. It will be set within the paradigm of “thinking, feeling, moving” and highlight the contributions of sensorimotor functions, executive functioning and gait adaptability to successful mobility. New technological advances for remotely monitoring mobility will also be discussed.

Healthy Brain Aging: A Lifespan Perspective

  • Dan G. Blazer, Duke University Medical Center
  • Kristine Yaffe, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • Laura Fratiglioni, Karolinska Institute

In this session we will focus upon factors throughout the lifespan which contribute to health brain aging. We begin with a discussion of early life influences upon later cognitive function. Next we focus upon cognitive aging, that usual progression of cognitive function through the life cycle. This discussion will rely upon and update the IOM report on cognitive aging released in 2015. Finally we will focus upon dementing disorders, especially Alzheimer's Disease. A common theme which will pervade all discussions will be those factors which can prevent or retard normal cognitive aging and the onset of dementing disorders.

Longitudinal Studies on Aging: From Science to Policy

  • Rose Anne Kenny, Trinity College Dublin
  • Eline Slagboom, Leiden University Medical Center
  • AB Dey, All India Institute of Medical Sciences

Speakers will detail how molecular, physiological and social research from longitudinal studies on aging afford a unique opportunity to better understand the multi-dimensions of the aging process coupled with innovative approaches to inform policy and practice.

Social Inequality and Social Justice

  • Jan Baars, University for Humanistic Studies
  • Dale Dannefer, Case Western Reserve University
  • Chris Phillipson, The University of Manchester

The session will begin with giving an overview of different dimensions of social inequality. The initial preoccupation with inequality between age groups and old-age poverty has been supplanted with a concern with inequality within age strata, and how it develops over the life course. Inequality of quality of life, health and resource characteristics all appear to increase with age and are greatest in later life, reflecting processes of cumulative dis/advantage. Next, this diagnosis is confronted with recent structures of regulation and support that have emerged following the demise of the welfare state, especially in the EU. It can be shown that these reinforce widening inequalities within the older population. In this way they are a significant part of the processes of cumulative advantage/disadvantage. In a third step, it will be argued that dominant discourses on social justice have not kept up with intra-cohort inequalities and still focus on inequalities between age groups or generations.

The Longevity Revolution and the Private Sector - Redefining Work, Leisure, Money, Purpose and Success

  • Kevin Crain, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Andy Sieg, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
  • Ken Dychtwald, Age Wave

With the aging of a significant portion of the global population, and many people living and working longer, issuing pertaining to longevity, funding for later years, and discussions of life priorities in the next phase of their lives are coming to the fore. In a series of national thought leadership studies, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Age Wave conducted research to examine how Americans are preparing for retirement and reshaping their lifestyles during their later years.

What Could Come From Understanding the Biology of Aging?

  • Folkert Kuipers, University Medical Center Groningen
  • Jim Kirkland, Mayo Clinic
  • Sophia de Rooij, University Medical Center Groningen
  • Dana Goldman, University of Southern California

Evidence is increasingly tying fundamental aging processes to the genesis of the major chronic diseases that account for the majority of morbidity, mortality, and health costs in developing and developed countries. These age-related chronic disorders include atherosclerosis, dementias, most cancers, diabetes, arthritis, blindness, and many others. By targeting basic aging processes, it could be feasible to delay, prevent, alleviate, or even cure these common chronic diseases as a group instead of one at a time, as well as the geriatric syndromes (frailty, sarcopenia, cognitive impairment, etc.) and age-related loss of resilience. Drugs and other interventions have recently been discovered that target basic aging processes. In a growing number of studies, these interventions not only enhance lifespan and healthspan in animals, they also appear to delay age-related chronic diseases and disabilities. If these interventions can be translated into clinical application, they could transform healthcare and even society as we know it. Funding for research in this area is far lower than reasonable given the potential benefits should this approach be successful.

Dietary Determinants of Lifelong Health

  • Stefania Maggi, Neuroscience Institute
  • Jean Woo, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Connie W. Bales, Duke University, Durham VA Medical Center

Existing knowledge suggests that major chronic conditions affecting older adults (CVD, diabetes, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, dementia) can be largely prevented with appropriate, lifelong dietary habits. We will present results of observational and intervention trials, aiming to assess the efficacy of the Mediterranean Diet in preventing chronic diseases. Nutrition can make a substantial impact on the health and function of older individuals. Beyond dietary preventive measures, it is of upmost importance to identify biopsychosocial and cultural factors affecting the dietary behaviors, and, ultimately, the nutritional well-being of older individuals. The epidemic of obesity in older adults is bringing a new phenotype of frailty—the “fat-yet-frail” elderly person. New studies of diet- and exercise-based interventions for sarcopenic obesity are exploring safe approaches for restoring physical function. These interventions must protect lean and bone mass during body weight reduction and need to be scrutinized for their long-term impact on health and quality of life.

Where We Grow Old: Environmental Perspectives

  • Graham Rowles, University of Kentucky
  • Margaret Neal, Portland State University
  • Hiroko Akiyama, The University of Tokyo
  • Alexandre Kalache, International Longevity Centre Global Alliance
  • Susanne Iwarsson, Lund University

Increased recognition of the role of physical and social contexts in shaping the experience of growing old has resulted in the emergent field of environmental gerontology. Initiatives by the World Health Organization and AARP have generated global awareness of the importance of creating age-friendly communities. There has been burgeoning interest, as well, in the design of individual neighborhoods and dwellings to fit the needs of an aging population. At all levels along the continuum of settings, an underlying focus has been on developing negotiable environments imbued with meaning for residents, that enable aging in place, and enhance health and well-being. This plenary session will provide fresh international and cross-cultural perspectives on contemporary theoretical and empirical research in environmental gerontology. Speakers from different parts of the world will consider trends and future needs in relation to research, policy, planning and human service opportunities for enhancing the places where we grow old.

Technology and Aging: Promising Solutions, Global Challenges

  • David Lindeman, University of California Berkley
  • Stephen Johnston, Aging2.0
  • Andrew Sixsmith, STAR Institute at Simon Fraser University
  • Alex Ross, World Health Organization Centre for Health Development

Technology has become a driving force throughout the globe in improving the well-being and health of older adults, their family caregivers, and the long-term care work force, and holds the promise of being a key to the development of innovative solutions for social engagement and maximizing independence. This symposium will serve as a platform for discussion and exchange between diverse stakeholders who share an interest in technology solutions to support older adults, with the further intent of identifying frugal technology innovations that can meet the emerging, rapidly evolving needs of older people globally. The symposium will also address the disparity of technology solutions and the future needs of older adults in low- and middle-income countries as well as solutions proposed for global innovation. Ensuring that rapidly ageing populations remain healthy, productive, socially engaged and independent for as long as possible requires technology innovations that meet their greatest needs, and which are safe, effective, affordable, appropriate, accessible and available.