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Aging & Geriatrics

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

  • 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...

  • Mediterranean Diet a Recipe for Strength in Old Age

    A Mediterranean diet may make seniors less likely to become frail and help them maintain their health and independence, new research suggests. 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...

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    • 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...

    • Friendships May Be Your Defense Against Diabetes

      You probably lean on your friends in tough times. Now, new research suggests your pals might even help you prevent one very big health problem -- type 2 diabetes. 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...

    • As Hearing Fades With Age, Dementia Risk May Rise

      Age can often bring a loss of hearing, and for some, mental decline in the form of dementia. But are the two linked? 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...

    • Most Older Adults Willing to Play Game to Monitor Vision

      Many older patients with age-related macular degeneration use personal electronic devices, and most are willing to play a game to monitor vision, according to a study published online Nov. 13 in Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology. More...

    • Leaving the House Tied to Lower Mortality Risk in Seniors

      Elderly individuals who frequently leave the house have a lower risk of mortality, according to a study published online Nov. 22 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 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...

    • Does Marriage Help Preserve Your Brain?

      A new research review suggests there's something about marriage -- or people who get and stay married -- that significantly lowers the risk of mental decline in old age. 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...

    • For Seniors, Any Physical Activity Is Better Than None

      Don't try saying you're too or too busy to exercise, especially after that calorie-laden Thanksgiving dinner. 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...

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