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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

  • Hospitalizations of Nursing Home Residents Can Be Reduced

    Evidence-based clinical and educational interventions can reduce avoidable hospitalizations among long-stay residents in nursing facilities, according to a report published in the March issue of Health Affairs. More...

  • Impaired Orthostatic BP Recovery Linked to Falls in Older Adults

    Delayed recovery orthostatic hypotension and sustained orthostatic hypotension are associated with increased risk of falls among community-dwelling older adults, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

  • Shorter Length of Stay Tied to Earlier Readmission for Seniors

    For older patients discharged from the hospital to post-acute care facilities, shorter length of hospital stay is associated with earlier readmission, according to a study published online March 3 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

  • High-Intensity Aerobic Exercise May Help Reverse Cellular Aging

    High-intensity exercise training can reverse some manifestations of aging in the body's protein function, according to a study published in the March issue of Cell Metabolism. More...

  • Seniors With Brain Cancer May Have Better Treatment Option

    Chemo plus radiation appears to extend survival of older glioblastoma patients, study says. More...

  • 45 More
    • Stem Cells Hold Promise, Peril in Treating Seniors' Eye Disease

      One report warns of 3 women blinded by macular degeneration treatment in 'trial,' another details success story. More...

    • Dizzy Spells in Middle-Age Tied to Dementia Risk Later

      Rapid drops in blood pressure that cause light-headedness may do serious damage, study suggests. More...

    • CDC: Arthritis Limits the Activities of 24 Million U.S. Adults

      One in four adults in America report an arthritis diagnosis, with the number of individuals disabled by it up 20 percent since 2002, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More...

    • Finally, Proof That Hearing Aids Help

      High-quality digital devices provide 'significant benefit' to older Americans, study finds. More...

    • Exercise Beats Weight Loss at Helping Seniors' Hearts

      Both are healthy goals, but getting active may reap even more benefit, study finds. More...

    • Older Bones Benefit From Dairy Plus Vitamin D

      The supplements boost absorption of calcium, researchers say. More...

    • Hip Fracture's Link to Early Death May Last Years

      People over 60 face two to three times the risk of dying over next 8 years, study finds. More...

    • Live Healthy, Live Longer

      Regular checkups, exercise, no smoking, better diet and balance between work and play can add years, health expert says. More...

    • Is Need for More Sleep a Sign of Pending Dementia?

      Study finds an association but doesn't prove cause and effect. More...

    • Unhealthy in Middle Age, Dementia in Old Age?

      Diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking may set you up for Alzheimer's, research suggests. More...

    • Nursing Homes Rarely Use Isolation for Drug-Resistant Bugs

      Isolation precautions are infrequently used for nursing home residents with multidrug-resistant organism infection, according to a study published online Feb. 17 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • U.S. Life Expectancy May Rise to Over 80 by 2030

      But other developed countries expected to have even bigger longevity gains, study says. More...

    • Staying Socially Active Nourishes the Aging Brain

      Researchers suggest making friends of all ages. More...

    • Many Seniors Take Multiple Meds That Can Affect the Brain

      Psychiatrist cautions doctors and patients to consider risks and benefits of each drug. More...

    • Shift in Bisphosphonate Tx After 2008 Recommendations

      In response to revised osteoporosis recommendations in 2008, there was a shift in age-related trends in oral bisphosphonate therapy initiation, according to a study published online Feb. 2 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Nurse Practitioners Could Help Meet Need for Elderly Home Care

      Nurse practitioners could meet the growing need for house calls to frail, elderly Americans, but restrictions in some states may get in the way, according to research published recently in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • For Elderly Needing Home Medical Care, Are Nurse Practitioners the Answer?

      Restrictions in some U.S. states are an obstacle, researcher says. More...

    • 10,000 Medicare Patients/Year Die in 7 Days After ER Discharge

      Each year, about 10,000 generally healthy U.S. Medicare patients die within seven days of discharge from a hospital emergency department, according to research published online Feb. 1 in The BMJ. More...

    • 10,000 U.S. Seniors Die Within Week of ER Discharge Every Year: Study

      May be due to gaps in medical knowledge about which patients need more attention, researcher says. More...

    • Sticking With One Doctor May Help Keep Seniors Out of the Hospital

      Study found those who saw the same physician over time had fewer admissions More...

    • Health Tip: Strength Training Is For Seniors, Too

      How it may help older people More...

    • Mentally Stimulating Tasks May Lower Risk of MCI in Older Adults

      Activities that keep the brain busy -- using a computer, crafting, playing games, and participating in social activities -- appear to lower the risk of age-related mental decline in individuals 70 and older, according to a study published online Jan. 30 in JAMA Neurology. More...

    • Busy Minds May Be Better at Fighting Dementia

      Computer use, crafting, social activities and games all seem to boost brain health, study finds. More...

    • Lack of Exercise Might Invite Dementia

      Study found being sedentary may make you as vulnerable as those whose genes put them at risk for Alzheimer's. More...

    • Fitter Seniors May Have Healthier Brains

      Study found link between strong cardiorespiratory system and active brain, better memory. More...

    • Could Obesity Undermine Memory Training in Older Adults?

      Study adds to growing evidence of a link between weight and certain brain functions. More...

    • Experimental Drug May Simplify Macular Degeneration Treatment

      An experimental drug, AXT107, may one day make treatment simpler for patients with age-related macular degeneration, according to research published in the Jan. 18 issue of Science Translational Medicine. More...

    • Too Much Sitting Ages You Faster

      Cells of elderly sedentary women look much older than their actual age, study finds. More...

    • Hypertension Onset After Age 80 May Protect Against Dementia

      Developing hypertension in very old age may provide some protection from dementia, according to a study published online Jan. 17 in Alzheimer's & Dementia. More...

    • Implanted Defibrillators Benefit Seniors: Study

      Despite risks, nearly 80 percent of patients survived 2 years after getting device that restores normal heart rhythm. More...

    • Medical Groups Raise Blood Pressure Rx Threshold for Healthy Adults Over 60

      Guidelines say therapy should begin after top number in reading meets or exceeds 150 mmHG, not 140. More...

    • Common Viruses a Deadly Threat at Nursing Homes

      RSV and human metapneumovirus need to be taken as seriously as influenza, study author says. More...

    • Long-Term Disability Risk Up for Seniors Who Visit ER

      Seniors treated in an emergency department for illness or injury are more likely to become disabled and less physically agile over the next six months, according to a study published online Jan. 6 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. More...

    • Hour-Long Nap May Boost Brain Function in Older Adults

      Linked to improved memory and ability to think clearly in study. More...

    • Seniors' Health Can Tumble After ER Visit

      Disability and loss of agility more likely six months after treatment, study finds. More...

    • U.S. Glaucoma Cases Expected to Surge by 2030

      Routine eye exams the best way to prevent this major cause of vision loss, eye experts say. More...

    • Want a Sharper Brain as You Age? Volunteer!

      Study finds slight improvement in thinking and memory for civically minded. More...

    • Further Evidence Mediterranean Diet Ups Brain Health in Seniors

      The heart-healthy Mediterranean diet may also help preserve brain health in older adults, according to research published online Jan. 4 in Neurology. More...

    • Does Living Near Major Roads Boost Dementia Risk?

      Study couldn't prove cause-and-effect, but risk rose as proximity to traffic increased, researchers report. More...

    • Low Vitamin D Linked to Incident Frailty in Older Women

      For older women, low vitamin D is associated with incident frailty, according to a study published online Dec. 23 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Iron Deficiency Anemia Ups Risk of Hearing Loss in U.S. Adults

      Among U.S. adults, hearing loss is associated with iron deficiency anemia, according to a study published online Dec. 29 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. More...

    • Chair Yoga Helps Older Adults Manage Osteoarthritis Pain

      Chair yoga may produce sustained improvements in pain interference among older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis, according to a study published online Dec. 23 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Health Tip: Warding Off Wrinkles

      Dermatologists suggest how More...

    • Post-Lunch Napping Tied to Better Cognition in Elderly

      Moderate post-lunch napping is tied to better cognition in older adults, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Impact of Complex Medication Regimen in Elderly Unclear

      The association between medication regimen complexity and either treatment nonadherence or hospitalization in elderly patients remains unclear, according to a review published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

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