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NYAM works to create environments, policies, and programs that will allow older adults in New York City and around the nation and world to live longer, healthier lives and stay fully engaged in their communities. Approximately one-fifth of the world’s population will be 60 years of age by the year 2030. New York City—and cities worldwide—must prepare now to meet the needs of their expanding older populations.
New York City’s population of older adults is expected to increase by 45% between 2010 and 2030, when 1 in every 5 New Yorkers will be over the age of 60. Appreciating that the city must respond effectively, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and NYAM launched Age-friendly New York City, joining the World Health Organization’s global network of 35 Age-friendly Cities working to promote active aging by assessing their own assets and challenges through the eyes of older adults.
There is mounting evidence that where you live may be a powerful influence on many aspects of your health. This may be particularly true for older adults who are likely to spend more time in their communities, making them more vulnerable to neighborhood features such as high crime rates or lack of disabled access. NYAM’s research unit is studying the influence of neighborhood, as well as the influence of physical activity, on risk of depression in older adults. NYAM’s Project VIVA – Harlem aims to improve vaccination rates among older adults in East and Central Harlem by working with community partners and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to address both seasonal and pandemic H1N1 vaccination needs.
NYAM supports healthy aging through coordinated care provided by an appropriately trained workforce. NYAM aims to establish a specialized aging curriculum for graduate students interested the aging field as the norm in Masters of Social Work programs across the country. NYAM’s Social Work Leadership Institute (SWLI) is working with social work graduate programs across the country to offer comprehensive, field-based training in geriatric social work through the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education. To engage administrators of schools of social work toward this goal, SWLI formed the Leadership Academy in Aging with the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work.
NYAM has long served as a major advocate for care coordination— the integration of health care, social services, and long-term care—for the most vulnerable elderly as a central element in health care reform. The National Coalition on Care Coordination (N3C), a non-profit membership coalition formed by NYAM’s Social Work Leadership Institute and the American Society on Aging, provides policy leaders with concrete, evidence-based recommendations about the efficacy of care coordination. The Center for Aging Policy informs the development of appropriate policies in support of older adults by articulating evidence-based research on care coordination and workforce issues. The searchable online Evidence Database on Aging Care compiles evidence to support a stronger aging care workforce and better care coordination.
The Next Step In Drug Treatment
The mandatory-sentencing craze that drove up the prison population tenfold, pushing state corrections costs to bankrupting levels, was rooted in New York’s infamous Rockefeller drug laws. These laws, which mandated lengthy sentences for nonviolent, first-time offenders, were approved 40 years ago next month. They did little to curtail drug use in New York or in other states that mimicked them, while they filled prisons to bursting with nonviolent addicts who would have been more effectively and more cheaply dealt with through treatment programs.