Dr. Rick Danko, director, DSHS Office of Academic Linkages; Ms. Mary Soto, DSHS senior policy analyst; Dr. Marcia Ory, Regent professor, Texas A&M; and Mr. Ed House, DSHS chief operating officer

The largest generation in history – the baby boomers – is on the doorstep of retirement, with approximately 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day. By 2030, the number of U.S. adults age 65 or older will more than double to about 71 million, accounting for almost 20 percent of the population.

Public health efforts to promote health and wellness among this aging population are critical strategies for reducing the potential burdens associated with this demographic shift. Regent Professor Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H, director of the Program on Healthy Aging at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, addressed these issues as the featured speaker Nov. 16 in the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Grand Rounds in Austin, as she spoke on “Managing Life’s Transitions: Evidence-based Practices for Healthy Aging.”

“About 80 percent of older adults have one chronic condition, and 50 percent have at least two,” Dr. Ory said. “An essential component to keeping adults healthy and independent is postponing the onset of, or better managing, age-related chronic diseases and disabilities.”

Dr. Ory provided a thought-provoking discussion of the determinants of healthy aging, the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based practices that promote healthy aging, and resources for selecting appropriate evidence-based programs for seniors.

DSHS Grand Rounds programming is designed to elicit critical thinking through the presentation of topics that are interdisciplinary and highlight the crosscutting aspects of a health issue. These presentations include a balance of information on theory/research and practice/application. DSHS Grand Rounds often uses case studies, created by the speakers, in a way that allows for consideration of the topic from these different perspectives.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell