Skip 
Navigation Link
secslider

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.

For more information

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.

For more information

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.

For more information


News Articles

  • Right Amount of Sleep May Be Important in Early Alzheimer's

    Getting the right amount of sleep -- not too much and not too little -- could reduce your risk of mental decline as you age, even if you have early Alzheimer's disease, a new study claims. More...

  • AHA News: Hearing Loss and the Link to Dementia

    "The greater your hearing loss, the more likely you are to develop dementia," said Dr. Alexander Chern, an ear, nose and throat doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. More...

  • FDA Eases Access to Cheaper Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

    The proposal would create a category of hearing aids that could be sold directly to consumers, without either a medical exam or a fitting by an audiologist. More...

  • One-Third of Americans With Arthritis Get No Exercise

    Many American arthritis sufferers aren't getting any exercise despite its benefits for reducing pain and improving their quality of life, new research shows. More...

  • Many Older Americans Who Should Be Checking Blood Pressure at Home Aren't: Poll

    If you are over 50 and you have high blood pressure or a health condition for which blood pressure control is essential, at-home blood pressure checks can avert medical emergencies. More...

  • 45 More
    • Retired and Want to Stay Sharp? Hop on the Internet More Often

      Help in retaining mental function when you age could be only a few keystrokes away. More...

    • FDA Approves Pfizer Booster Shots for Seniors, High-Risk Americans

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Pfizer booster shots for people over 65 and for those at high risk of severe COVID-19. More...

    • Turning 65 Brings Big Health Care Cost Savings, Study Finds

      When Americans are eligible for Medicare at age 65, they see a significant drop in their out-of-pocket medical costs. More...

    • After an ICU Stay, Social Support Crucial for Seniors' Survival

      Older adults who are socially isolated are more likely to experience serious disability or die after a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU), new research reveals. More...

    • Diets That Lower Brain Iron Could Keep You Sharp

      Older adults who regularly eat foods like fish, nuts and olive oil may have less iron accumulation in their brains, as well as sharper memories, a small study suggests. More...

    • Health Savings Accounts Used Least by People Who Need Them Most: Poll

      Tax-free health savings accounts can make it easier for Americans to pay for future health expenses, but most older adults aren't using them. More...

    • Could Cheaper, Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Finally Be Here?

      Less costly high-tech, over-the-counter hearing devices are being developed, and some have even arrived on the market from companies like the speaker manufacturer Bose. More...

    • Postponing Retirement Might Help Keep Dementia at Bay

      AdobeStock

      Early retirement may sound appealing, but a recent study hints that putting it off a few years might help older adults retain more of their mental sharpness. More...

    • How Common Is Opioid Misuse Among Seniors After Hip Surgery?

      Many seniors who undergo surgery after breaking a hip continue to take opioids long after being released from the hospital, new research indicates. More...

    • Vaccines' Power Against COVID Hospitalization Fades in Elderly: Study

      The ability of COVID-19 vaccines to protect adults older than 75 against hospitalization appears to wane over time, but still remained 80% effective as of the end of July, new federal data shows. More...

    • AHA News: What Are Researchers Doing to Stop Dementia?

      Researchers say dementias are so varied and complex, there remain more questions than answers when it comes to how to thwart them. More...

    • Why Water Is Key to Your Heart's Health

      New research suggests that middle-aged adults can lower their long-term risk for heart failure by simply drinking enough water on a daily basis. More...

    • Too Much Screen Time Could Raise Your Odds for Stroke

      You've heard the warnings about kids who are forever glued to their screens, but all that screen time can have devastating health effects for grown-ups. More...

    • Having Someone Who'll Listen May Be Good for Your Aging Brain

      Could the constancy of a sympathetic ear help guard your brain against the ravages of aging? More...

    • A Second 'Closet' for Some LGBTQ Seniors Entering Nursing Homes

      The Stonewall generation is entering old age, and a new study finds many LGBTQ+ seniors are fearful that the prejudices of staff and fellow residents at nursing homes could leave them vulnerable to continued misunderstanding, stigma and discrimination. More...

    • Another Pandemic Harm: Seniors May Have Higher Risk of Falling

      Older Americans already face a higher risk of falls, but the decline in physical activity during the pandemic may have made matters worse, a new survey suggests. More...

    • Just 200 Fewer Calories Per Day Brings Big Health Rewards for Obese Seniors

      Seniors, it may be easier than you think to undo the damage of decades of bad eating and precious little exercise. More...

    • Deaths From Alzheimer's Far More Common in Rural America

      Teens have a far greater risk of heart inflammation from COVID-19 than from the vaccines that protect against it, new research shows. More...

    • Seniors Rarely Discuss Their Drinking With Their Doctors

      Plenty of seniors may struggle with problem drinking, but a new study shows that less than half of them discuss their alcohol use with their health care providers. More...

    • Loneliness Raises Opioid Dangers in Seniors: Study

      Illustrating a heartbreaking cycle, new research finds that lonely seniors are much more likely to take opioid painkillers, sedatives, anti-anxiety drugs and other medications. More...

    • Want to Avoid Dementia? Add Some Color to Your Plate

      People who consumed just a half serving a day of foods high in a naturally occurring compound called flavonoids had a 20% lower risk of mental decline, according to a new study. More...

    • 1 in 20 Cases of Dementia Occurs in People Under 65

      Dementia is largely a disease of old age, but a new study finds that up to 5% of all cases are among people in the prime of their lives. More...

    • Reading, Puzzles May Delay Alzheimer's by 5 Years: Study

      Activities like reading, writing letters, playing cards or doing puzzles may prolong brain health even for those in their 80s, researchers say. More...

    • Whole Grains Every Day: Key to Your Health and Waistline

      Whole grains can help older adults maintain a thinner waist, lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar, new research suggests. More...

    • Medicare Mulls Coverage for Controversial Alzheimer's Drug

      Medicare launched a formal process on Monday that will determine whether the agency will cover Aduhelm, the newly approved Alzheimer's drug whose high price tag and unproven benefits have prompted widespread controversy. More...

    • Missing Teeth, Higher Odds for Dementia?

      Brushing and flossing is good not only for your teeth: It might also benefit your brain, a new study suggests. More...

    • Healthy Living Can Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer's

      Alzheimer's disease has no cure, but one expert says it may be possible to reduce the risks of developing the disease with healthy lifestyle changes. More...

    • Most Cases of Dementia in U.S. Seniors Go Undiagnosed: Study

      Their new analysis of data from a nationwide survey of about 6 million Americans aged 65 and older revealed that 91% of people with cognitive impairment consistent with dementia did not have a formal medical diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. More...

    • Too Many Older Americans Are Taking Daily Aspirin

      Many older adults are still taking a daily baby aspirin to ward off first-time heart problems -- despite guidelines that now discourage it, a new study finds. More...

    • Can Your Blood Pressure Medicine Protect Your Memory?

      Older adults who use certain blood pressure drugs may retain more of their memory skills as they age, a new study suggests. More...

    • In 11 States, Seniors' Low Vaccination Rates a 'Powder Keg' for New Cases

      U.S. health experts warn there is a ticking time bomb in 11 states where 20 percent or more of seniors still haven't gotten a COVID-19 vaccine. More...

    • Many U.S. Seniors May Need Better Knee Arthritis Care

      Just a fraction of older Americans with arthritic knees try physical therapy, pain-relieving injections or other more conservative measures before undergoing knee replacement surgery, new research shows. More...

    • Cataracts: Common, and Easy to Treat

      Many aging Americans can have their vision dimmed by cataracts, but the good news is that they're easily treated, one expert says. More...

    • Old Age No Bar to Successful Heart Transplant, Study Finds

      People over 70 are far less likely to be considered for or to receive a new heart -- even though new research suggests their survival rates after transplant are similar to those of younger patients. More...

    • Pandemic Boosted Drinking Among Americans Over 50: Poll

      Drinking rose among older Americans during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that could put their health at risk, claim researchers behind a new poll. More...

    • AHA News: Overcoming Midlife Barriers to Exercise and Better Health

      Just 30 minutes of movement -- anything that gets your heart beating faster -- five times a week is all it takes to meet federal guidelines for physical activity. In fact, the goal is 150 minutes a week, whether it's split up daily or not. More...

    • Too Much TV May Dull the Aging Brain

      Middle-aged folks who regularly turn to TV for entertainment appear to have a greater risk of decline in their reasoning and memory later in life, three new studies suggest. More...

    • Healthy Living Helps Prevent Dementia, Even If It Runs in the Family

      Researchers found that older adults with healthy habits had a lower risk of developing dementia, versus the less health-conscious -- even if a parent or sibling had suffered from the brain disease. More...

    • AHA News: Is It Normal Aging or Early Signs of Dementia?

      Misplacing keys. Forgetting names. Struggling to find the right word. Walking into a room and forgetting why. Are these early signs of dementia? Or normal signs of aging? More...

    • Do Prescription Sleep Medicines Even Work?

      An estimated 9 million Americans turn to prescription pills when they can't sleep, but a new study of middle-aged women finds taking the drugs for a year or longer may do little good. More...

    • Feel Younger Than Your Age? You Might Live Longer

      Can feeling young at heart, or at least younger than your actual age, help older people live healthier, longer lives? Yes, according to researchers in Germany. More...

    • U.S. Seniors Are Getting Fewer Abdominal Surgeries

      Older Americans, especially those 85 and older, are having fewer abdominal surgeries than in decades past, a new study finds. More...

    • AHA News: How Social Isolation Can Harm Health as You Age – and How to Prevent It

      Health experts say social isolation isn't just tough emotionally, it can cause physical harm to aging adults. It raises the risk of heart disease and stroke by roughly 30%, the risk for dementia by 50% and significantly raises the risk of dying prematurely. More...

    • Many Older Americans Aren't Telling Their Doctors They Use Pot

      Aging potheads are now past 50 and still puffing away, but new research shows that many don't disclose this to their doctors. More...

    • Higher Education Won't Help Preserve the Aging Brain: Study

      That college degree may be useful in many ways, but new research suggests it probably won't keep your brain from shrinking with age. More...

Share This

Resources