Video of May 10, 2018, Capitol Hill briefing, featuring:

  • Introducing GSA’s longevity economics report (James Appleby, CEO of The Gerontological Society of America)
  • Longevity economics report overview (Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management at University of Pennsylvania)
  • Financial sector perspective (Kevin Crain, Head of Enterprise Financial Solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch)
  • U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging special guest (Sarah A. Khasawinah)

Workgroup Members

Peter Cappelli, PhD, Chair
George W. Taylor Professor of Management
The Wharton School Center for Human Resources
University of Pennsylvania

Axel Börsch-Supan, PhD
Munich Center for the Economics of Aging
Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy

Gary Burtless, PhD
John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Chair in Economic Studies
Brookings Institution


Kathleen J. Mullen, PhD
Senior Economist
RAND Corporation

Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, PhD
Associate Dean and Cofounder
Sloan Center on Aging & Work
Professor, Graduate School of Social Work
Boston College

Surya Kolluri
Head of Policy and Planning
Bank of America Merrill Lynch


This program is developed by GSA and supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

These National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Conference Grants (R13 and U13) support programs are relevant to public health and to the scientific mission of the participating institutes and centers and GSA.

A team of experts assembled by GSA, has been charged with guiding GSA in the development of valuable, credible, and trusted resources to provide awareness of all aspects of Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) as it relates to aging, and to help in advance scientific research endeavors.

Life expectancy has vastly increased in many parts of the world, and while pet ownership and other types of HAI have demonstrated benefits to human health, very little is known about the potential role that pets may play in healthy aging.

The expert panel on Human Animal Interaction seeks a multidisciplinary approach to this emerging field of study, through increased research in the roles of companion animals in the lives of older adults, such as mitigating loneliness, social isolation, and depression; and enhancing mobility and cognitive function.



Pet Ownership for Seniors

Please include attribution to with this graphic.


GSA, in collaboration with Mars Petcare/WALTHAM™, is funding high quality, innovative research into the impact of companion animals on healthy aging in humans. Through a $50,000 award in 2017, we will promote innovation and enable the conduct of high-quality research on the impact of HAI (pet ownership or other forms of interaction) on healthy aging in older adults (50+ years of age) and/or their caregivers.

The recipients of the award were announced in July at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics World Congress: Drs. Dawn Carr and Natalie Sachs-Ericsson from Florida State University. Dawn and Natalie will be using the Health and Retirement Survey, which includes a module on Human Animal Interaction, to study four aims that will test the hypothesis that a companion animal is beneficial to health in older people, particularly those who are socially isolated and experience a major social loss:

  1. Identify critical factors that predict selecting a companion animal later in life, particularly in relation to health, and to understand the selection processes that may influence the benefits of companion animals on older adults
  2. Determine if and in what ways human social processes are involved in shaping the relation between companion animals and human health.
  3. Examine the influence of companion animals on health among socially isolated older adults relative to socially integrated older adults who experience a major social loss
  4. Contribute to a theoretical framework outlining the relationships between human-animal interaction among older adults and human health

This study uses an underutilized data set and will help us to better understand how social context shapes the relevance of companion animals for a range of health problems later in life, particularly for vulnerable older adults.

Expert Panel at Advancing Research on Human-Animal Interactions in Human Aging, April 25-26, 2016

Marie A. Bernard, MD
Deputy Director
National Institute on Aging
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD

Angela L. Curl, PhD, MSW
Assistant Professor & Scripps Gerontology Fellow
Family Studies & Social Work
Miami University
Oxford, OH

Marie-José Enders-Slegers, PhD, MSc
Professor in Anthrozoology
Department Anthrozoology
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Open University
Heerlen, The Netherlands

Layla Esposito, PhD, MA
Program Officer of the Child Development and Behavior Branch
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institutes of Health
Rockville, MD

Erika Friedmann, PhD
Associate Dean of Research
University of Maryland School of Nursing
Baltimore, MD

Nancy R. Gee, PhD
Professor & WALTHAM HAI Research Manager
Department of Psychology
SUNY Fredonia
Fredonia, New York

Melissa S. Gerald, PhD
Program Director
Division of Behavioral and Social Research
National Institute on Aging
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD

James A. Griffin, PhD
Deputy Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institutes of Health
Rockville, MD


John G. Haaga, PhD
Acting Director, Division of Behavioral and Social Research
National Institute on Aging
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD

Nancy Morrow-Howell, MSW, PhD
Bettie Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy
Director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO
GSA President

Megan K. Mueller, PhD
Elizabeth Arnold Stevens Junior Professor
Research Assistant Professor
Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at
Tufts University
North Grafton, MA

Barbara Resnick, PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP
Professor of Nursing
University of Maryland School of Nursing
Sonya Ziporkin Gershowitz Chair in Gerontology
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Laura P. Sands, PhD
Center for Gerontology
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA

James Serpell, PhD
Marie A. Moore Professor of Animal Ethics and Welfare
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Michelle D. Shardell, PhD
Staff Scientist Statistician
National Institute on Aging
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD

This program is developed by GSA and supported by Mars Incorporated and WALTHAM, the Petcare research division of Mars.

marspetcare   waltham

Publication Series

GSA offers the Communicating with Older Adults publication series. Each installment is intended for any professional who seeks to have the best possible interactions with older adults. They cover the broad range of communication issues experienced by older adults and health care providers, and give concrete suggestions for dealing with problems when they arise.

Current Titles

  • Communicating with Older Adults: An Evidence-Based Review of What Really Works
  • Communicating with Older Adults: Recognizing Hidden Traps in Health Care Decision Making

Silver Market Training Modules

At present, older adults account for 34 percent of all prescription drug use and 30 percent of over-the-counter drug use. The U.S. Administration on Aging forecasts that nearly one in five Americans will be 65 or older by 2030. And according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of older adults currently are unable to understand the information given to them about their prescription medications.

GSA is now offering its members free access to several online training modules designed to help pharmacy professionals meet the needs of their aging patients. And while these tools are geared toward pharmacists and other support staff, they can be useful to any gerontologists seeking to have optimal interaction with the aging population. Collectively known as The Silver Market Community Pharmacy series, each installment runs less than 25 minutes and offers expert information and time-tested techniques to help pharmacists and technicians work efficiently and respectfully across the counter.

GSA developed the modules with support from several partners, including McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Novartis Consumer Health, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, and Purdue Pharma. GSA’s technology partner in hosting the series is LearnSomething, Inc.

Current Titles

To access the modules, click here.

Note: You must be a logged in as a member for the free access codes to appear on this page. Non-members may access the modules for a fee. The following titles are available:

  • Pain Management and Older Adults
  • Communicating Effectively With Older Adults: What Really Works. The Basics of Aging and Communication
  • Communicating Effectively With Older Adults: What Really Works. Improving Face-to-Face Communication with Older Adults II: Medication Safety
  • Communicating with Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Communicating Effectively With Older Adults: What Really Works. Older Adult Diversity
  • Communicating Effectively With Older Adults: OTC Medication Reconciliation
  • Improving Face-to-Face Communication with Older Adults: Medication Adherence
  • Communicating Effectively With Older Adults: Sleep Health and Sleep Disturbance
  • Communicating Effectively With Older Adults: Older Adults and OTC Sleep Aids

The need for family caregivers in the U.S. is rapidly increasing, yet demographic shifts are causing the pool of potential family caregivers to decrease. Currently, nearly 18 million people in this country provide some form of care for loved ones age 65 or older.

Capitol Hill Briefing and Proceedings Paper

"Congressional Stories of Family Caregiving: Challenges, Rewards, and a Call to Action" is a proceedings paper from a GSA-hosted briefing on Capitol Hill. GSA invited these legislators to share their personal stories of family caregiving to illustrate that the caregiving experience and the challenges that accompany it are shared by Americans of all levels of income, employment, and education. The briefing was supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation and partners were AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the National Alliance for Caregiving. This paper includes recommendations from the "Families Caring for an Aging America" report below as well as caregiving-relevant legislation.

"Families Caring for an Aging America" Report

With support from 15 sponsors, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened an expert committee to examine what is known about the nation’s family caregivers of older adults and to recommend policies to address their needs and help to minimize the barriers they encounter in acting on behalf of an older adult.

The resulting report, "Families Caring for an Aging America," provides an overview of the prevalence and nature of family caregiving of older adults as well as its personal impact on caregivers’ health, economic security, and overall well-being. It also examines the available evidence on the effectiveness of programs and interventions designed to support family caregivers. The report concludes with recommendations for developing a national strategy to effectively engage and support them.

Other Resources

Report Committee Members

(* denotes GSA member)

Richard Schulz* (Chair), Director, University Center for Social and Urban Research, University of Pittsburgh

Maria P. Aranda*, Associate Professor, University of Southern California School of Social Work

Susan Beane, Vice President and Medical Director, Healthfirst Inc.

Sara Czaja*, Leonard M. Miller Professor and Scientific Director, Center on Aging, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Brian Duke, System Director, Senior Services, Main Line Health

Judy Feder, Professor, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University

Lynn Friss Feinberg*, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute

Laura N. Gitlin*, Director and Professor, Center for Innovative Care in Aging, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Lisa Gwyther*, Director, Duke Family Support Program; Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University

Roger Herdman, Retired


Ladson Hinton, Geriatric Psychiatrist and Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis

Peter Kemper*, Professor Emeritus, Health Policy and Administration; Demography, Pennsylvania State University

Linda Nichols*, Co-Director, Caregiver Center, Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Professor, Preventive and Internal Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Carol Rodat, New York Policy Director, PHI, Inc.

Charles Sabatino*, Director, Commission on Law and Aging, American Bar Association

Karen Schumacher*, Professor, College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Alan Stevens*, Director, Center for Applied Health Research Program on Aging and Care, Baylor Scott & White Health

Donna Wagner*, Dean, College of Health and Social Services, New Mexico State University

Jennifer Wolff*, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University



GSA’s work to amplify and move the report recommendations toward implementation are funded in part through a grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation.


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