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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

  • Lifestyle Changes Might Prevent or Slow Dementia

    The public should be aware of this encouraging research, expert says. More...

  • Revisits After Discharge From Observation Up in Elderly

    For Medicare beneficiaries age 65 years and older, hospital revisits frequently occur after discharge from observation stays, and have increased over time, according to a study published online June 20 in The BMJ. More...

  • Report Addresses Patient Refusal of Home Health Care Services

    About 6 to 28 percent of seniors refuse home health care offered when they are discharged from the hospital, according to a report from the United Hospital Fund and the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation. More...

  • Older Age Needn't Be a Barrier to Herniated Disc Surgery

    People over age 65 shouldn't avoid surgery for a herniated disc just because of their age, as they can benefit from the procedure as much as younger patients, according to a research letter published recently in JAMA Surgery. More...

  • Health Tip: Managing Arthritis Fatigue

    Here's what's recommended More...

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    • Comprehensive Audiologic Care Feasible in Free Clinic Model

      Comprehensive audiology care can be provided in a free clinic model, allowing patients to be fitted with free hearing aids, according to research published online June 15 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. More...

    • Recreational Activity-Linked Facial Fractures Up in Seniors

      From 2011 to 2015 there was an increase in facial fractures sustained from recreational activity among older adults, according to a study published online June 15 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. More...

    • Seniors Get Good Results From Herniated Disc Surgery

      Age is no reason to avoid the operation, Norwegian researchers report. More...

    • Centenarians Often Healthier Than Younger Seniors: Study

      They have less chronic disease than 80- and 90-year-old veterans studied. More...

    • Fido May Be a Fit Senior's Best Friend

      Study finds walking a dog helps older people meet goals for moderate to vigorous exercise. More...

    • Excess Alcohol May Speed Muscle Loss in Older Women

      After menopause, frequent drinkers had four times the risk of sarcopenia, study found. More...

    • Family Can Improve Timely Detection in Nursing Home Care

      Family members can be involved in the timely detection of changes in health among their family members living in nursing homes, according to a study published online May 30 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing. More...

    • Even Moderate Drinking May Dull the Aging Brain

      Findings suggest U.S. drinking guidelines might be too liberal. More...

    • Can a 70-Year-Old Have the Arteries of a 20-Year-Old?

      It's possible, but hard work in today's 'Western' culture, study finds. More...

    • Depression Often a Precursor to Falls in Elderly People

      But study found proper dose of psychiatric drugs might erase that danger. More...

    • Health Tip: Exercise Your Brain Every Day

      Here's what seniors can do More...

    • Alzheimer's Deaths Jump 55 Percent: CDC

      More patients also dying at home, with the caregiving burden falling on loved ones. More...

    • Reducing Caloric Intake Appears to Slow Biological Aging

      Limiting calorie intake may slow aging, according to a study published online May 22 in the Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. More...

    • Sleep Apnea Reporting Low Among Individuals Aged ≥65

      From 1993 to 2011, physicians reported sleep apnea in 0.3 percent of all office visits among individuals aged 65 years and older, according to a study published online May 4 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Chances of Successful CPR Dwindle as Seniors Age

      Study finds fewer older Americans are trained to do it or receive it if needed. More...

    • Study Casts Doubt on Need for Statins in the 'Healthy Old'

      But specialists cite research flaws, limitations. More...

    • Dying Patients Often Given Medicines That Won't Help Them

      Study finds many still prescribed long-term disease-preventing medications. More...

    • This Combo Workout May Suit Obese Seniors Best

      Aerobic-plus-resistance regimen boosts bone and muscles, study shows. More...

    • Low-Dose Aspirin No Aid Against Cognitive Decline

      Low-dose aspirin does not protect against cognitive decline, according to a review published April 20 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Many Seniors Use Cellphones While Driving With Children

      Many senior citizens are driving while distracted, according to a new survey conducted by the University of California, San Diego. More...

    • Scientists Uncover Root of Graying, Thinning Hair

      Findings in mice might lead to treatments that stop baldness and gray hair. More...

    • Longevity in the U.S.: Location, Location, Location

      Study found life expectancy differed by as much as 20 years in different counties. More...

    • Do Your Knees Crackle and Pop?

      It could mean arthritis is coming. More...

    • 4 in 10 People Will Suffer Arthritic Hands Over Lifetime

      Obesity appears to raise the risk, researchers note. More...

    • Passive Home Monitoring Yields Health Care Savings

      Installation of a health and safety passive remote patient monitoring system in the homes of older adults seems to result in health care cost savings, according to a study published online April 13 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • New Rx for Sleeping Pills Can Up Risk of Hip Fracture

      Older patients are at greater risk for hip fractures for two weeks after they start taking prescription sleeping pills, according to a review published online April 27 in PLOS ONE. More...

    • Optimal Cardiovascular Health in Middle Age Adds Years to Life

      Individuals with optimal cardiovascular health in middle age live an average of four years longer than their peers who have at least two risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and almost five years longer free of chronic disease, according to a study published in the May 2 issue of Circulation. More...

    • Aging Substantially Ups Risk for Needing Help With Money, Meds

      Many seniors over age 85 need help with finances and/or managing their medications, according to research published online April 5 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Hearing Tests May Miss Common Form of Hearing Loss

      Commonly used hearing tests often fail to detect a prevalent form of inner ear damage, according to an experimental study published online recently in Frontiers in Neuroscience. More...

    • Sleeping Pills Boost Danger of Falls, Fractures in Older Users

      And newer drugs like Ambien, Lunesta are no safer in this regard, review found. More...

    • Loving, Supportive Kids May Help Lower Seniors' Dementia Risk

      But negative relationships with children, spouse increased chances, study finds. More...

    • Healthy Heart in Middle Age Delivers Big Dividends

      Study found it was linked to longer, disease-free life. More...

    • Older Women Show Limited Understanding of Osteoporosis

      Many older women have low awareness about osteoporosis and its contribution to fracture risk and a lack of understanding about the benefits of osteoporosis pharmacotherapy, according to a study published April 19 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Most Seniors Use Cellphones While Behind the Wheel

      Some even do it with kids in the car, survey finds. More...

    • Seniors Often Have Trouble Managing Money, Medicines

      By 85, many could use a hand, study finds. More...

    • 'Brain Age' May Help Predict When You'll Die

      An 'older' mind is linked to signs of physical and mental problems, study contends. More...

    • Docs May Miss Major Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors

      1 in 4 cases of age-related macular degeneration initially goes unrecognized, research suggests. More...

    • Mid-Life Exercise Could Jog Your Memory

      Combination of aerobic, resistance training best for boosting brain health, study finds. More...

    • Exercise Benefits Aging Hearts, Even Those of the Obese

      Physical activity helps ward off heart damage in middle age and beyond, study finds. More...

    • QI Intervention Aids Medication Safety for Elderly in ER

      A quality improvement initiative that combines education, electronic clinical decision support, and individual provider feedback can positively influence prescribing behavior and improve medication safety for older adults in the emergency department, according to a study published online April 7 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Slow Processing Speed Predicts Falls in Elderly

      Slow processing speed predicts future falls in older adults with a history of falls, according to a study published online April 8 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Nursing Home Program Offers Alternatives to Antipsychotic Drugs

      New method helped quell undesirable behavior by recognizing dementia patients' unmet needs. More...

    • Strength Training Might Help Prevent Seniors' Falls

      Exercise helps improve balance and age-related muscle loss, doctor says. More...

    • Seniors' Well-Being May Get a Boost From Green Spaces

      Small study detects positive brain changes from urban oases. More...

    • Seniors' Brain Changes Could Make Them Vulnerable to Scams

      Researchers hope to some day be able to identify who's at risk before they're financially victimized. More...

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