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Introduction to Aging and Geriatrics

Aging & Geriatrics

Great improvements in medicine, public health, science, and technology have enabled today's older Americans to live longer and healthier lives than previous generations. Older adults want to remain healthy and independent at home in their communities. Society wants to minimize the health care and economic costs associated with an increasing older population. The science of aging indicates that chronic disease and disability are not inevitable. As a result, health promotion and disease prevention activities and programs are an increasing priority for older adults, their families, and the health care system.

Many people fail to make the connection between undertaking healthy behaviors today and the impact of these choices later in life. Studies indicate that healthy eating, physical activity, mental stimulation, not smoking, active social engagement, moderate use of alcohol, maintaining a safe environment, social support, and regular health care are important in maintaining he...More

Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

What healthy choices should those who are aging make?

  • Choosing a doctor is one of the most important decisions anyone can make. The best time to make that decision is while you are still healthy and have time to really think about all your choices.
  • Studies show that endurance activities help prevent or delay many diseases that seem to come with age. In some cases, endurance activity can also improve chronic diseases or their symptoms.
  • You can improve your health if you move more and eat better!
  • As you grow older, you may need less energy from what you eat, but you still need just as many of the nutrients in food.
  • The Federal Government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly encourage older adults to be immunized against flu, pneumococcal disease, tetanus and diphtheria, and chickenpox, as well as measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • Sunlight is a major cause of the skin changes we think of as aging — changes such as wrinkles, dryness, and age spots.

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What medical issues can those who are aging face?

  • Age can bring changes that affect your eyesight.
  • About one-third of Americans older than age 60 and about half the people who are 85 and older have hearing loss. Whether a hearing loss is small (missing certain sounds) or large (being profoundly deaf), it is a serious concern.
  • Menopause is the time around the age of 51 when your body makes much less of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone and you stop having periods, which can cause troublesome symptoms for some women.
  • The risk of osteoporosis grows as you get older. Ten million Americans have osteoporosis, and 8 million of them are women.
  • Prostate problems are common in men age 50 and older. There are many different kinds of prostate problems and treatments vary but prostate problems can often be treated without affecting sexual function.
  • Loss of bladder control is called urinary incontinence and at least 1 in 10 people age 65 or older has this problem.
  • In order to meet the criteria for an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis, a person's cognitive deficits must cause significant impairment in occupational and/or social functioning.

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What mental health issues can those who are aging face?

  • Because the aging process affects how the body handles alcohol, the same amount of alcohol can have a greater effect as a person grows older. Over time, someone whose drinking habits haven’t changed may find she or he has a problem.
  • There are many reasons why depression in older people is often missed or untreated. The good news is that people who are depressed often feel better with the right treatment.

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News Articles

  • CAPABLE Program Saves Money for Seniors With Disability

    The five-month Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders program is associated with lower Medicaid spending, according to a study published online Nov. 22 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

  • Flu Can Have Dangerous Domino Effect on Older Adults

    Even months after recovering from the flu, older people remain at increased risk for a heart attack, stroke or disability More...

  • Doctors Increasingly Becoming 'Nursing Home Specialists'

    From 2012 to 2015 there was a relative increase in the number of nursing home specialists, including an increasing number of generalist physicians billing for nursing home care, according to a research letter published in the Nov. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. More...

  • Many Seniors Have Not Discussed Avoiding Drug Interactions

    Older adults report feeling confident that they know how to avoid drug interactions despite only 35 percent having spoken to someone about it in the past year, according to findings from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, published online Nov. 29. More...

  • Small Changes Could Keep Seniors Driving Longer

    Older drivers can easily make their cars safer -- but few do, a new study finds. More...

  • 45 More
    • Steroid Injections for Arthritic Hips: More Trouble Than They're Worth?

      hey may temporarily ease pain, but new research suggests that steroid injections to arthritic hips may exacerbate bone trouble over the longer term. More...

    • What You Don't Know About Drug Interactions Could Hurt You

      Many older Americans take multiple medications -- but only about one-third ever discuss possible interactions between drugs, a new poll finds. More...

    • Don't Delay Hip Fracture Surgery. Here's Why

      Seniors with a fractured hip need surgery as soon as possible or they could suffer life-threatening complications More...

    • Health Tip: Seniors at Heightened Risk of Foodborne Illness

      If you're 65 or older, your immune system probably is weaker than when you were younger, and you're at higher risk of contracting foodborne illness. More...

    • 1 in 4 U.S. Seniors With Cancer Has Had It Before

      For a quarter of American seniors, a cancer diagnosis signals the return of an old foe More...

    • An Exercise Game Plan for Boomers

      If you're a member of the baby boom generation, don't think you're too old to exercise. More...

    • Health Tip: Help Prevent Osteoporosis

      More than 10 million Americans, mostly women, have osteoporosis, the U.S. National Institute on Aging says. More...

    • Could New 'Brain Training' Program Help Prevent Dementia?

      In what is being billed as a first, researchers report that healthy seniors who tried a new brain-training program were less likely to develop dementia down the road. More...

    • 'Boomers' Doing Better at Avoiding Eye Disease of Aging

      New research shows that baby boomers are somehow avoiding the illness at higher rates than their parents did. More...

    • U.S. Seniors Struggle More to Pay for Health Care Compared to Other Countries

      A new report finds the availability of health care for U.S. seniors lags behind that of other affluent nations. More...

    • Staying Active May Lower Odds for Glaucoma

      You probably know that exercise benefits your heart and waistline. But how about your vision? More...

    • Health Tip: Hearing Loss May Affect Brain Health

      Aside from missing out on spirited conversation, hearing loss can affect the health of your brain More...

    • AAO: Higher Exercise Intensity Tied to Reduced Risk of Glaucoma

      Increasing exercise intensity is associated with a reduced risk of glaucoma, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, held Nov. 11 to 14 in New Orleans. More...

    • Middle-Aged and Impaired? More Common Than You Might Think

      roughly 1 in 5 developed a "functional impairment" before age 65 More...

    • Smog May Harm Your Bones, Too

      Exposure to air pollution can increase the risk for osteoporosis and broken bones in older adults More...

    • Your Friends May Be Key to a Healthy Aging Brain

      A new study suggests that warm, supportive relationships might give a big memory boost to the aging brain. More...

    • USPSTF Posts Osteoporosis Screening Recommendations

      The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review on Screening for Osteoporosis to Prevent Osteoporotic Fractures have been posted for public comment through Dec. 4, 2017. More...

    • Exercise, Intervention Combos Associated With Lower Fall Risk

      For older adults, exercise alone and combinations of interventions are associated with reduced risk of injurious falls, according to a review published online Nov. 6 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. More...

    • Older Women Can 'Walk Away From the Grim Reaper'

      MONDAY, Nov. 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Ladies, slip on your sneakers and walk briskly every day, and you might prolong your life. More...

    • New Finding Hints at Clue to Dementia

      FRIDAY, Nov. 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Inflammation in middle age may increase the risk for brain shrinkage and dementia in old age, a new study suggests. More...

    • What Exercise Regimen Is Best for Healthy Weight Loss in Seniors?

      THURSDAY, Nov. 2, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors who want to lose weight should hit the weight room while they cut calories, a new study suggests. More...

    • Health Tip: Eating Healthier as You Age

      Make sure your diet is age-appropriate More...

    • Bone Strength + Bone Mineral Density Screening Cost-Effective

      Combined assessment of bone strength and bone mineral density is a cost-effective strategy for osteoporosis screening in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in the November issue of Radiology. More...

    • Panel Recommends New Zoster Vaccine as First-Line Treatment

      In a close 8-7 vote, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that Shingrix be chosen over Zostavax as the herpes zoster vaccine of choice in adults aged 50 and older, the Washington Post reported. More...

    • There's a New Shingles Vaccine -- Is It for You?

      THURSDAY, Oct. 26, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- On the heels of approval of a better vaccine for the painful condition shingles, adults over 50 should plan to roll up their sleeves -- again. More...

    • Secondary Prevention Meds Often Not Started Post-AMI in Seniors

      Thirty-seven percent of older nursing home residents do not initiate secondary prevention medications after acute myocardial infarction, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Ditch the Throw Rugs, Seniors!

      Hip fractures are more likely to follow indoor falls in warm weather, study finds. More...

    • Health Tip: Finding Safe Shoes for the Elderly

      Balance and comfort are key More...

    • Health Tip: 5 Suggestions to Promote Healthy Aging

      And see long-term results More...

    • Mental Health Issues Impact Retirement Saving Behavior

      Mental health, as assessed by psychological distress, is associated with retirement saving behavior, according to a report published online Aug. 29 in Health Economics. More...

    • Dance Your Way to a Healthier Aging Brain

      Small study suggests it might boost memory, learning. More...

    • 3MR Intervention Effective for Discontinuing Inappropriate Meds

      The Multidisciplinary Multistep Medication Review is effective for discontinuation of inappropriate medication among elderly nursing home residents without a decline in their well-being, according to a study published online Oct. 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. More...

    • Health Tip: Tai Chi May Help Prevent Falls

      Here's what one study found More...

    • Today's Middle-Age Americans in Worse Health Than Prior Generations

      50-somethings will face more challenges as retirement nears, study suggests. More...

    • Older People May Be More Prone to Reveal Suicidal Thoughts

      1 in 4 admitted intent beforehand, opening an opportunity for prevention, researchers say. More...

    • Risk Assessments Can Help Prevent Falls

      Physician can identify potential trouble spots. More...

    • Failing Sense of Smell Tied to Dementia Risk

      Long-term study suggests inability to identify scents may be early sign of problems. More...

    • Psychosocial Intervention Ups Adherence to Antidepressants

      A psychosocial intervention can improve early adherence to antidepressants among middle-aged and older adults, according to a study published online Sept. 27 in JAMA Psychiatry. More...

    • Health Tip: Exercise Boosts Brain Metabolism

      Study finds benefit to area that's key to learning and memory More...

    • 1 in 3 Seniors Take Sleep Aids

      But national guidelines generally recommend against these products for those over 65. More...

    • Exercise, Not Vitamin D, Recommended to Prevent Falls

      Draft recommendations from influential U.S. panel now await public review. More...

    • USPSTF Recommends Exercise for Preventing Falls in Seniors

      The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends exercise to prevent falls in at-risk community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online Sept. 26 by the USPSTF. More...

    • The Benefits of Simply Moving More

      You can improve heart health without structured exercise. More...

    • Few Older Patients Aware of Deprescribing

      The majority of older patients are aware of medication harms, but far fewer understand deprescribing, according to a brief report published online Sept. 15 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Health Tip: Stair Safety For Older People

      Suggestions to help prevent falls More...

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