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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

  • Health Tip: When Arthritis Strikes Your Feet

    If you have intense pain in your feet, arthritis may be the cause of your woes. More...

  • Health Tip: Balance Moves for Older Adults

    Balance exercises can help prevent falls, especially among older adults. But before you begin any exercise program, always consult your doctor. More...

  • Positive Age Beliefs May Protect Seniors Against Dementia

    Positive age beliefs may protect against dementia, even among older individuals with APOE ε4, according to a study published online Feb. 7 in PLOS ONE. More...

  • Your Attitude About Aging Might Affect Odds for Dementia

    If you hope to avoid dementia in old age, having an upbeat view on aging itself might help, new research suggests. More...

  • Menopause May Worsen Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

    Menopause may speed physical decline in women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a new study suggests. More...

  • 45 More
    • What Works Best to Keep Drivers With Dementia Off the Road

      Don't count on physicians to keep drivers with dementia off the roads, a new study cautions. More...

    • Eye Tests Tied to Less Dementia in Older Drivers Who Crash

      Vision testing and in-person renewal requirements are significantly related to a reduced prevalence of dementia in older adults hospitalized after car crashes, according to a study published online Jan. 31 in Neurology. More...

    • Health Tip: Prevent Hypothermia Among Seniors

      Seniors are at heightened risk of hypothermia, the medical term for low body temperature. More...

    • Hearing Loss Common Among Heart Failure Patients

      Nearly three-quarters of patients aged 70 or older with heart failure have hearing loss, according to a research letter published online Jan. 25 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. More...

    • Much Hip Fx Variation in Nursing Homes Remains Unexplained

      Much variation in the incidence of hip fractures in U.S. nursing home facilities remains unexplained, even after examining characteristics at the state and facility levels, according to a study published online Jan. 16 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Cognitive Training Aids Memory in People With Mild Impairment

      Cognitive training improves memory in older patients with mild cognitive impairment, according to a study published Jan. 4 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Too Few Older, Hospitalized Patients Getting Flu Tests

      As a nasty flu season rages throughout the United States, new research finds that one particularly vulnerable population often misses out on tests for the illness. More...

    • Periodontitis in Older Adults Tied to Higher Total Cancer Risk

      Individuals with periodontitis have an increased total cancer risk, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. More...

    • Older Adults Less Likely to Have Provider-Ordered Flu Testing

      Older adults are less likely than younger adults to have provider-ordered influenza testing, according to a study published online Jan. 17 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Confusion Common in Seniors Prescribed Antibiotics for UTI

      Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in nursing home residents, and new or worsening confusion is strongly associated with antibiotic treatment for suspected UTI, according to a study published online Jan. 10 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Health Tip: Prevent Weight Gain

      As people age, the amount of muscle decreases and the amount of body fat increases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. More...

    • Winter Temps Raise Health Risks for Seniors

      Older adults are at increased risk for hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature, the U.S. National Institute on Aging warns. More...

    • Falls More Common in Elderly With Cognitive Impairment

      Increasing evidence shows that cognitive therapies may help reduce falls in older adults, according to a review published online Jan. 10 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Grandparents Help Shape Kids' Views on Aging

      Kids who have a good relationship with their grandparents are less likely to become prejudiced against old people, a new study has found. More...

    • Provider Counseling of Exercise for Arthritis Patients Improved

      For adults with arthritis, there was an increase in the age-adjusted prevalence of reporting health care provider counseling for exercise from 2002 to 2014, according to research published in the Jan. 5 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. More...

    • Health Tip: Selecting a Nursing Home

      When it's time to consider a nursing home for a family member or friend, you'll want to choose one that's a good fit personally and financially. More...

    • CV Exercise Betters Cardiac Aging in Sedentary Middle-Aged Adults

      Two years of high-intensity exercise training is associated with improved maximal oxygen uptake and reduced cardiac stiffness in previously sedentary healthy middle-aged adults, according to a study published online Jan. 8 in Circulation. More...

    • Middle-Aged and Out of Shape? It's Not Too Late to Save Your Heart

      Does a youth misspent lounging and lazing condemn middle-aged folks to a future of bad heart health? More...

    • Annual Flu Shots Help Keep Seniors Out of the Hospital

      The current flu season is shaping up to be a nasty one, but there's good news for American seniors who've gotten their flu shot. More...

    • 'Facial Stretches' Could Trim Years Off Your Look

      Could facial "yoga" be a new fountain of youth? More...

    • Scripted Callbacks Do Not Prevent 30-Day Returns of ER Discharges

      For older adults discharged to home from the emergency department, telephone follow-up does not improve outcomes, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Seniors, Lose the Weight But Not the Muscle in 2018

      If you're a senior who's pledging to lose weight in 2018, be sure you're shedding excess fat without losing muscle and bone. More...

    • More Daily Steps Associated With Thicker Brain Sub-Regions

      In older adults with memory complaints but no dementia, higher physical activity levels are associated with thicker medial temporal lobe sub-regions and better cognitive skills, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. More...

    • Air Pollution Can Be Deadly for Seniors

      Even levels of air pollution deemed "safe" by U.S. government standards may shorten the life spans of seniors, new research suggests. More...

    • Getting Active Could Help Boost Memory, Experts Say

      Physical activity is good for the body and the brain, but what about people with thinking and memory difficulties? More...

    • A Daily Walk: Smart Move for Seniors' Brain Health

      With New Year's Day fast approaching, one small, new study suggests that seniors interested in preserving their brain health might want to add walking to the top of their resolution list. More...

    • Seniors Don't Need Calcium, Vitamin D Supplements: Review

      Seniors are wasting their time and money taking calcium and vitamin D supplements to ward off the brittle bones of old age, a new review concludes. More...

    • Tips for Holiday Trips With Seniors

      If you plan to travel with an elderly relative this holiday season, don't leave things to chance, an expert on geriatric medicine says. More...

    • Reading Aloud Can Be a Memory Booster

      Want to remember certain information? Try reading it out loud. More...

    • Findings Support Comprehensive Approach for Seniors With Cancer

      Addressing persistent symptoms, managing comorbidities, promoting leisure-time physical activity, and addressing financial challenges are key in optimizing health-related quality of life in older adults with cancer, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in Cancer. More...

    • Eat Your Greens . . . and Maybe Boost an Aging Brain

      People who eat leafy green vegetables every day may maintain a sharper mind as they age, a new study suggests. More...

    • Self-Reported Symptoms in Elderly Predict Readmission

      Post-discharge symptoms self-reported by frail, elderly adults may predict 30-day hospital readmission and emergency department visits, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Holidays Can Be Hard on Lonely Seniors

      More than one in three elderly Americans describe themselves as lonely, and the holidays can be especially isolating for them, geriatric experts warn. More...

    • Your Pets Can't Put Your Aging on 'Paws'

      In a finding that's sure to ruffle some fur and feathers, scientists report that having a pet doesn't fend off age-related declines in physical or mental health. More...

    • 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...

    • 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...

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