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Pfizer, Partners Start Website on Addressing Aging

From Associated Press (June 18, 2012)

TRENTON, N.J. -- The drug maker Pfizer Inc. and nearly a dozen health advocacy groups want to help senior citizens and younger people talk about a subject many find frightening or at least confusing: growing old.

They’ve teamed up on a program called Get Old, built around a new website that creates a unique online community where people can join discussions on the issues as well as read expert advice about them.

The site lets visitors search for information and tips on a range of topics facing the old, from dealing with cancer and obesity to managing finances and plans for long-term care. It also covers stresses on the so-called Sandwich Generation, people still raising children while caring for elderly relatives who have become sick or have Alzheimer’s disease.

Visitors can poke around among various postings about and from people of the same age -- from 1 to 100 -- grouped according to whether they feel optimistic, prepared, angry or uneasy about aging.

The site,, starts running Monday.

The initial postings come from health experts and regular employees at Pfizer, as well as partners in the project. Those include the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, the National Family Caregivers Association and Men’s Health Network. Many postings include links to further information at sites run by those groups.

The project is an unusual one for a drug maker to sponsor, as it does not promote or link to any products made by Pfizer, the world’s biggest drug maker.

"We want to hear what people want and need to live better and healthier, and create a forum on what it means to `get old’ today," Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Pfizer’s chief medical officer, said in a statement.

The site already has about 1,200 items, including video, photos, tips and other bits of information, and will expand as visitors and professionals alike add more postings.

A poll that New York-based Pfizer commissioned as part of the project, conducted by market research company Gallup & Robinson in May, found that among the 1,017 adults surveyed, more respondents over age 65 worry about becoming dependent (35 percent) or living with pain and disabilities (29 percent) than dying (7 percent). It also found that the state of a person’s health was a key reason why they felt aging was turning out better or worse than expected.


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Posted: June 2012