Elderly Americans get short shrift when it comes to the quality
of their health care, according to the non-profit Alliance for
The Alliance May 19 released a report, titled “Ageism: How
Healthcare Fails the Elderly,” at a hearing of the U.S.
Senate Special Committee on Aging.
Citing recent scientific research, the Alliance alleged that
older Americans — those 65 and older — are less likely
than other groups to receive preventive treatment or health care
screenings, and often are excluded from clinical trials for
To combat these discrepancies, the Alliance recommended
doctors, nurses and other allied health providers receive
training in geriatrics as part of their formal education;
researchers study the benefits to older people of health
screening and preventive measures; and
Congress and health agencies raise awareness of the availability
of clinical trials.
“By 2003, almost one in four of the entire population of
the United States will be [over the age of 65,” said David
Perry, executive director of the Alliance for Aging Research.
“Ageist assumptions that distort the quality of health
care for such a large and growing group hurt everyone, because they
lead to premature loss of independence on a giant scale, and they
increase mortality, disability and depression in older adults who
might otherwise lead productive, satisfying and healthier