House of Delegates approves five elder care resolutions, affirming commitment to optimal care for seniors

The 2020 House of Delegates signaled the Association’s support of equitable dental care to elderly patients, addressing the overarching oral health needs of an aging population by passing five policy resolutions and referring eight other resolutions to ADA councils for consideration, to either refine or resubmit to the 2021 House of Delegates.

Reports from the councils on the deferred eight resolutions — strategic policies to address specific areas — are due at the 2021 convening of the House of Delegates.

ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S, M.D, hailed the occasion after the vote.

“The ADA believes in optimal, choice-driven dental care for elderly patients,” Dr. Klemmedson said. “It is essential that the oral health of everyone — including older adults — is recognized as a vital component of overall health, by practitioners, patients and the public at large. As patients age, it is important to deliver necessary treatment with a focus on preventing future decay, so that the oral health of older adults does not decline as they become increasingly medically, functionally and cognitively complex patients. The ADA is committed to this, and the resolutions presented to the 2020 House of Delegates illustrate that obligation and passion.”

In 2018, the House of Delegates adopted Resolution 33H-2018, which directed the ADA president to appoint an ad hoc committee to review the Association’s current policies and to identify an implementation plan to address elder care. After submitting an interim report to the 2019 House, the workgroup was reauthorized through Resolution 72H-2019 to report back to the 2020 House of Delegates with a recommended Comprehensive Strategic Elder Care policy.

This workgroup, as appointed by then-President Jeffrey M. Cole, D.D.S., in 2018 and reappointed by then-President Chad P. Gehani, D.D.S., in 2019, was chaired by current ADA President-elect Cesar R. Sabates, D.D.S.. Under his leadership, the workgroup worked to research, discuss, and build consensus in developing and presenting thirteen resolutions to the 2020 House.

“I’ve never been prouder to be part of this important workgroup,” Dr. Sabates said.
Dr. Sabates said that while other policies related to different segments of the population have been outlined, the elder care policy had never been clearly defined until now. Among other benefits, he added, is that ADA advocates on Capitol Hill and other places of government have a policy to follow and pursue.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the U.S. population aged 65 and older will grow by nine percentage points from 2016 to 2060, making it the fastest-growing age group. By 2035, the number of seniors over 65 will be greater than people under 18.