Kansas, like many other Midwestern states, has a growing aging population, with 493,000 persons over the age of 65 expected in 2020 and 42,000 over the age 85. As Baby Boomers continue to come into retirement, those numbers will continue to swell. In 1986, almost 25 years ahead of the curve, Kansas was thinking about the health and well-being of older adults and those who care for them when the Kansas Legislature approved a new appropriation to start an interdisciplinary Center on Aging at the University of Kansas Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kansas.
In 1998, the Center on Aging convinced the legislature to invest in a new building to provide state-of-the-art educational, clinical and research facilities for faculty and the older adult patients they serve. That capital investment, along with a new line item in the state base, paved the way for the building that stands at 36th Avenue and Rainbow on the medical center campus. With the help of then-U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, the Center on Aging also received a $4 million federal grant to construct the building.
Named for Sen. Kassebaum's parents, the Theo and Alfred M. Landon Center on Aging includes:
- a Geriatric Medicine Clinic providing both primary care and consultative services
- facilities for researchers to study important aging-related issues such as prevention and treatment of disability, patterns of healthcare delivery and cognitive function
- coursework for the next generation of healthcare providers to learn from faculty about the care of older adults in state-of-the-art classrooms
- an optimal location for community participants to engage in a variety of outreach programs from fitness and exercise to elder law clinics and brownbag presentations.
Since 2003, the Landon Center on Aging has housed the outpatient clinics of the Department of Neurology, located on the first floor. Their physicians treat many of the diseases affecting older adults, such as Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia, among other neurological conditions. Their proximity both geographically and scientifically allows for many collaborations in research and clinical care. For more information on their programs go to the Department of Neurology.
Faculty and staff are working now to increase our knowledge of issues affecting the current older adult population and provide services to improve the quality of life for those individuals and those yet to come to that chapter of their lives.