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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.

For more information


News Articles

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

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

  • This Combo Workout May Suit Obese Seniors Best

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

  • 45 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...

    • 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...

    • 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...

    • Questionnaire-Based Approach Valid for Identifying Frailty

      A questionnaire-based approach seems to be valid for identifying adults in the intensive care unit with a frailty phenotype, according to a study published online March 30 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society. More...

    • A Healthy Middle-Aged Heart May Protect Your Brain Later

      Dementia expert says take up heart-healthy habits sooner rather than later. More...

    • Droughts Tied to Climate Change Could Bring Health Risks for Seniors

      Danger is greatest for people in areas where extreme rain shortages are uncommon, researchers find. More...

    • 'SuperAgers' Have Less Whole-Brain Cortical Volume Loss

      Cognitively-average elderly adults have greater annual whole-brain cortical volume loss than adults age 80 years and older with episodic memory ability at least as good as that of average middle-age adults (SuperAgers), according to a research letter published in the April 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. More...

    • Good Sleep Does Get Tougher With Age

      Review suggests many seniors struggle to get deep, restorative slumber, adding to health problems. More...

    • What's the 'SuperAgers' Mental Secret?

      Some folks stay sharp into their 80s, 90s, and brain scans may show why. More...

    • Brain Changes May Mark Risk of Financial Exploitation in Seniors

      For older adults, financial exploitation is associated with brain differences in regions associated with socioemotional functioning, according to a study published online March 28 in the Journals of Gerontology: Series A. More...

    • Drug Tied to Dementia Risk Overprescribed to Seniors: Study

      Lower cost might help drive doctors' choice, researchers say. More...

    • Gum Disease, Tooth Loss Tied to Higher Mortality in Older Women

      Tooth loss is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease and death in older women, according to a study published online March 29 in the Journal of the American Heart Association. More...

    • Alcohol Consumption Trending Upward Among Older Adults

      For adults age 60+ years, there is an upward trend in the prevalence of current drinking, according to a study published online March 24 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. More...

    • Exercise: The Cellular 'Fountain of Youth'

      Intense interval training seems to boost older cells, even reversing some of aging's effects, study finds. More...

    • Many Talks on End-of-Life Wishes End in Confusion, Study Shows

      Just 3 out of 10 accurately understood what their loved one wanted. More...

    • Turning Back the Aging Clock -- in Mice

      Elderly rodents treated with cellular therapy regained lost fur, became more active, scientists say. More...

    • 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...

    • 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...

    • 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...

    • Live Healthy, Live Longer

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

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