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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

  • Health Tip: 5 Suggestions to Promote Healthy Aging

    And see long-term results More...

  • Mental Health Issues Impact Retirement Saving Behavior

    Mental health, as assessed by psychological distress, is associated with retirement saving behavior, according to a report published online Aug. 29 in Health Economics. More...

  • Good Lifestyle Choices Add Years to Your Life

    Certain behaviors, many associated with various genes, were linked to longevity in large study. More...

  • Dance Your Way to a Healthier Aging Brain

    Small study suggests it might boost memory, learning. More...

  • 3MR Intervention Effective for Discontinuing Inappropriate Meds

    The Multidisciplinary Multistep Medication Review is effective for discontinuation of inappropriate medication among elderly nursing home residents without a decline in their well-being, according to a study published online Oct. 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. More...

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    • Health Tip: Tai Chi May Help Prevent Falls

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    • Today's Middle-Age Americans in Worse Health Than Prior Generations

      50-somethings will face more challenges as retirement nears, study suggests. More...

    • Older People May Be More Prone to Reveal Suicidal Thoughts

      1 in 4 admitted intent beforehand, opening an opportunity for prevention, researchers say. More...

    • Risk Assessments Can Help Prevent Falls

      Physician can identify potential trouble spots. More...

    • Failing Sense of Smell Tied to Dementia Risk

      Long-term study suggests inability to identify scents may be early sign of problems. More...

    • Psychosocial Intervention Ups Adherence to Antidepressants

      A psychosocial intervention can improve early adherence to antidepressants among middle-aged and older adults, according to a study published online Sept. 27 in JAMA Psychiatry. More...

    • Health Tip: Exercise Boosts Brain Metabolism

      Study finds benefit to area that's key to learning and memory More...

    • 1 in 3 Seniors Take Sleep Aids

      But national guidelines generally recommend against these products for those over 65. More...

    • Exercise, Not Vitamin D, Recommended to Prevent Falls

      Draft recommendations from influential U.S. panel now await public review. More...

    • USPSTF Recommends Exercise for Preventing Falls in Seniors

      The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends exercise to prevent falls in at-risk community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online Sept. 26 by the USPSTF. More...

    • The Benefits of Simply Moving More

      You can improve heart health without structured exercise. More...

    • Few Older Patients Aware of Deprescribing

      The majority of older patients are aware of medication harms, but far fewer understand deprescribing, according to a brief report published online Sept. 15 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Health Tip: Stair Safety For Older People

      Suggestions to help prevent falls More...

    • Fracture Risk Higher for Seniors With Diabetes

      Bone weaknesses seen in those with blood sugar disease. More...

    • Health Tip: Medication Suggestions for Older Adults

      Be safer when taking your meds More...

    • Short Duration of Hospice Seen for Seniors at End of Life

      The presence and number of restricting symptoms and the number of disabilities are associated with increased likelihood of hospice admission for older adults during their last year of life, according to a study published online Sept. 12 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Heath Tip: Myths About the Aging Brain

      Learn the truth More...

    • Remember This: A Healthy Body Keeps the Mind Sharp, Too

      Major heart health groups say exercise, good diet can help you maintain memory as you age. More...

    • Is Dementia Declining Among Older Americans?

      Rates have fallen among those 70 and older; gains against heart disease might explain trend. More...

    • No Link for Cardiovascular Meds Use, Cognitive Impairment

      For older adults, there is no association between cardiovascular medication use and cognitive impairment, according to a study published online Aug. 24 in Cardiovascular Therapeutics. More...

    • Too Much TV May Cost You Your Mobility

      Excessive sitting after 50 is tied to disability, study finds. More...

    • Smoking Linked to Frailty in Seniors

      But study also found those who had quit didn't suffer same fate. More...

    • More Than Half of Americans Will Need Nursing Home Care: Study

      More short-term stays the biggest factor fueling the increase. More...

    • Less Than Half of Seniors With A-Fib Receive Anticoagulants

      Less than 45 percent of older adults with atrial fibrillation admitted to the hospital are prescribed an anticoagulant, according to a study published online Aug. 21 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Patients' Hearing Loss May Mean Poorer Medical Care

      Misunderstandings raise the risk for medical errors, study finds. More...

    • How You Think About Your Arthritis Makes a Difference

      Confidence in your ability to remain active improves day-to-day life, study finds. More...

    • Do Fewer Nightly Dreams Mean Higher Dementia Risk in Seniors?

      For every 1 percent drop in sleep's REM phase, a 9 percent jump in odds for thinking, memory troubles, study found. More...

    • Supplement May Help Against Vision-Robbing Disease in Seniors

      But no large studies prove the inexpensive pill slows age-related macular degeneration, eye expert says. More...

    • Health Tip: Heat and the Elderly

      How to stay safe when temperatures rise More...

    • Caregiving Needs Double as End of Life Nears

      Most rely on family members to provide that support, researchers say. More...

    • Sitting Could Be Big Health Risk for Frail Folks

      Being sedentary not linked to early death in people who are generally healthy, study finds. More...

    • Lower Blood Pressure Best for Seniors' Minds

      And study found that healthy reductions may benefit blacks even more than whites. More...

    • Physical Activity Predicts Disability in Older Adults

      Accelerometer-measured physical activity levels are strongly associated with major mobility disability (MMD) and persistent MMD events in older adults with limited mobility, according to a study published online Aug. 11 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • 'On the Move' Group Exercise Program Aids Walking in Elderly

      The "On the Move" group exercise program is more effective at improving mobility in the elderly, compared to seated, usual-care exercise programs, according to a study published online Aug. 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine. More...

    • Taking a Stand on Staying Mobile After 80

      Standing exercises better than sitting ones for preserving walking skills, study finds. More...

    • The Right Shoes Can Help Prevent Falls

      What you should look for in the shoe store More...

    • Yoga May Boost Aging Brains

      Changes seen in areas involved with attention and memory, but it's not yet clear if yoga is the cause. More...

    • Health Tip: One of Three Adults Gets Shingles

      It's the same virus that causes chickenpox in kids More...

    • Midlife Behaviors May Affect Your Dementia Risk

      Of greatest importance are diabetes, blood pressure and smoking, researchers say. More...

    • 'Loneliness Epidemic' Called a Major Public Health Threat

      Social isolation tied to increased risk for premature death, research suggests. More...

    • Protein at All 3 Meals May Help Preserve Seniors' Strength

      Staves off muscle decline, Canadian researchers suggest. More...

    • Inappropriate Med Use High in Cognitively Impaired Seniors

      Many nursing home residents with cognitive impairment or dementia have potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use, with PIM use more likely among frail individuals, according to a study published online July 28 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Switching to Generic Eye Meds Could Save Medicare Millions

      Prescribing generic drugs for seniors' eye problems could save the U.S. government hundreds of millions of dollars a year, according to a study published recently in Ophthalmology. More...

    • Increased Dementia Risk With Hearing Loss in Older Adults

      The risk of dementia is increased for older adults with hearing loss, according to a study published online July 22 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

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