The Alliance for Aging Research was founded in 1986 by Daniel Perry to advance the science of aging and health in order to help people live longer, healthier lives.
By the mid-1980s, it was apparent that the “Graying of America” was real. With advances in prevention and better treatment of heart disease, stroke, and better health overall, the nation found itself facing an unprecedented and unexpected increase in numbers of older Americans.
Health costs were also soaring and lawmakers of every political stripe faced the dilemma of how to pay for Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans benefits and other programs for growing numbers of people.
Republicans and Democrats alike began to ask: How do we manage unprecedented costs for elder care? How will we respond when the largest generation in history begins to retire and needs even greater medical and long-term care?
The best answer, of course, is always to learn, to discover, and to innovate.
Better solutions emerging from medical science have the power to prevent, delay the progression of, and more effectively treat diseases and disabilities in older patients, like cardiovascular conditions, musculoskeletal disabilities, vision loss, diabetes, cancer, and dementia.
In our initial discussions with folks on Capitol Hill, it was widely assumed that this type of research already enjoyed the backing of the most powerful of all voices in the Capitol: the so-called “gray lobby” of senior citizen organizations.
But that was not the case. The established, well-known lobbies that speak for older people had very different, albeit important, priorities—namely, the benefits and services their current members receive in the here and now. Investments in biomedical research often take many years before tangible benefits emerge, and vocal champions for foundational research are needed. We had to start something new. And so, the Alliance for Aging Research was founded.
The success of this nonprofit group over the past three and a half decades proves it is possible for a committed few, with passion and vision, to make a difference so that we all might enjoy longer, healthier lives.
Watch our video to learn more about the Alliance’s history.