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For Immediate Release
April 11, 2011

Contact: Todd Kluss
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(202) 587-2839

Effective Pain Management Crucial to Older Adults’ Well-Being

Improved management of chronic pain can significantly reduce disability in older adults, according to the latest issue of the WHAT’S HOT newsletter from The Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

Based largely on presentation highlights from GSA’s 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting in November 2010, the current WHAT’S HOT examines the impact of pain in older adults, strategies for managing pain and preserving function, and methods to improve the assessment and management of pain for residents in long-term care facilities, including those who have dementia. Support for this publication was provided by McNeil Consumer Healthcare.

“Under-treatment of chronic pain in older adults is common, contributing to unnecessary suffering,” said Deborah Dillon McDonald, RN, PhD, of the University of Connecticut School of Nursing, who served as an advisor for the issue. “Older adults and practitioners need to work together to find optimal multi-modal pain management plans that reduce pain and avoid adverse events.”

The newsletter points out that pain is a signal that something is wrong, and that reports of pain should not be dismissed simply because the patient is older. Furthermore, the issue demonstrates that chronic musculoskeletal pain is associated with numerous problems such as increased disability and sleep difficulty in older people. The research and national initiatives presented therein underscore the importance of good pain management in older adults and explore strategies for optimizing patient well-being.

Among the most successful methods for pain treatment are physical activity, pain protocol interventions, and medication use. Additional topics raised in the newsletter focus on ongoing activities to support safe selection and use of analgesics (including appropriate acetaminophen dosage), which is important to communicate to multiple stakeholders, including patients, caregivers, health care providers, policymakers, and researchers.

An electronic version of the newsletter is available for purchase at www.geron.org/WhatsHot. (Reporters may request review copies.) The website also contains a subscription form to join an online discussion group related to topics addressed in the issue.

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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,200+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

Click here for a printable PDF version of this press release.

Mildred M. Seltzer Distinguished Service Recognition

Presented to C. Joanne Grabinski, PhD, Eastern Michigan University, and Mary Alice Wolf, PhD, Saint Joseph University.

This award honors colleagues who are near retirement or recently retired. Recipients are individuals who have been actively involved in AGHE through service on committees, as elected officers, and/or have provided leadership in one of AGHE’s grant-funded projects.

Administrative Leadership Award

Presented to Tammy M. Bray, PhD, Oregon State University

This award honors administrators on AGHE member campuses who have made exceptional efforts in support of gerontology or geriatrics education.

David A. Peterson Gerontology & Geriatrics Education Best Paper of the Volume Award

Presented to Nina M. Silverstein, PhD, University of Massachusetts Boston; Elizabeth Johns, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston; and Judith A. Griffin, MA, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston, for the article “Students Explore Livable Communities.” Honorable mention is given to Emily J. Robbins, MS, Miami University; Jennifer M. Kinney, PhD, Miami University; and Cary S. Kart, PhD, Miami University, for the article “Promoting Active Engagement in Health Research: Lessons Learned from an Undergraduate Gerontology Capstone Course.”

The purpose of this award is to recognize excellence in scholarship in academic gerontology in AGHE’s official journal, Gerontology & Geriatrics Education.

Graduate Student Paper Award

Presented to Deborah Gray, MBA, University of Massachusetts Boston, for the paper “Weight and Wealth: The Relationship between Obesity and Net Worth for Pre-Retirement Age Men and Women.”

This award acknowledges excellence in scholarly work conducted by an AGHE Annual Meeting student attendee.

Book Award for Best Children’s Literature on Aging

Presented to Caitlin Dale Nicholson and Leona Morinn-Nelson for “Niwechihaw/I help” in the primary reader (pre-K to 2nd grade) category, and Ann Grifalconi and Jerry Pickney for “Ain’t Nobody A Stranger to Me” in the elementary reader (3rd to 5th grade) category.

This award recognizes portrayals of meaningful aging in children’s literature.