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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

  • Lonely Baby Boomers Driving Surge in Plastic Surgery

    Baby boomers hoping to retain their youth -- and maybe get back into the dating scene -- are seeking plastic surgery in ever-increasing numbers, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. More...

  • Health Tip: Preventing Glaucoma

    Certain ethnic groups, the elderly and people who have family members with glaucoma are at a higher risk than others for the eye disease, says the Glaucoma Research Foundation. More...

  • Education, Intelligence Might Protect Your Brain

    Being smart and highly educated may not prevent Alzheimer's disease, but it appears to delay the disease's impact on everyday life, a new study suggests. More...

  • Bones Help Black People Keep Facial Aging at Bay

    Why do so many black adults continue to look youthful as they age? More...

  • Could You Afford Home Health Care? New Study Says Maybe Not

    The seniors most likely to need paid home care to maintain independent living are the least likely to be able to afford it long-term, a new study reports. More...

  • 45 More
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      If someone you know is struggling to keep track of their finances as they age, early dementia might be the culprit. More...

    • Falls Are Increasingly Lethal for Older Americans

      Deaths from falls are increasing sharply among elderly Americans, a new study finds. More...

    • Many Middle-Aged Men May Have Signs of Thinning Bones

      Brittle bones are often seen as a woman's health issue, but low bone mass may be more common among middle-aged men than generally thought, a small study suggests. More...

    • Though 'Donut Hole' Is Shrinking, Medicare Drug Costs Are Rising: Study

      Seniors' out-of-pocket costs for cancer drugs continue to rise steadily, with patients paying thousands of dollars each year despite efforts to close the Medicare Part D "donut hole," researchers said. More...

    • Senior Falls a Key Factor for Hospital Readmission

      Fall-related injuries are a major reason why seniors are readmitted to the hospital within a month after being discharged, a new study finds. More...

    • Rising Rx Drug Costs Continue to Create Tough Choices for Seniors

      A solid minority of senior citizens still struggles to afford their prescription medications, a new government report shows. More...

    • Take a New View of Aging

      The way you view aging can affect how well you manage stress. More...

    • The Best Exercises for Brain Health

      There's a lot you can learn from your elders, starting with the results of a multi-year study of exercise and brain health in seniors. More...

    • Huhn? Scientists Working on Hearing Aid That Solves the 'Cocktail Party' Problem

      Chances are if you're over 60 it's already happened to you: You're in a crowded room and finding it tough to understand what your partner is saying a couple of feet away. More...

    • Brain Bleed Risk Puts Safety of Low-Dose Aspirin in Doubt

      Let's say you're one of the millions of older adults who takes a low-dose aspirin religiously, in the belief that it will guard against heart disease and heart attacks. More...

    • Health Tip: Wellness for Older Adults

      Living a healthy lifestyle can impact both your lifespan and quality of life, says the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. More...

    • Potentially Blinding Shingles of the Eye on the Rise

      The virus that gave you chickenpox as a kid can rise again after decades of inactivity and inflict a painful, even blinding, eye infection in old age. More...

    • Anger a Threat to Health in Old Age

      The loss of loved ones can hit the elderly particularly hard, but a new study suggests it's anger, and not sadness, that may damage the aging body more. More...

    • Morning Exercise Kick-Starts Seniors' Brains

      Want a quick brain boost? A morning session of exercise and short walks throughout the day provide a number of brain benefits for older adults, a new study says. More...

    • How Does Age Affect Creativity? Nobel Prize Winners Offer Clues

      Creativity doesn't fade as you get older, but it may change, a new study shows. More...

    • Most U.S. Middle-Class Seniors Will Lack Funds for Assisted Living by 2029

      A decade from now, more than half of middle-class seniors in the United States will be unable to afford needed housing and personal assistance, a new study contends. More...

    • Health Tip: Improving Your Memory

      Memory loss is common, but should not be taken lightly, says Mayo Clinic. More...

    • Even a Little More Exercise Might Help Your Brain Stay Young

      Alzheimer's and dementia are not an inevitable part of normal aging, and a little exercise might help keep them at bay, a new study suggests. More...

    • Can't Work Out During the Week? 'Weekend Warriors' Still Benefit

      Daily exercise may be the ideal, but even weekend workouts might prolong your life, a new study suggests. More...

    • AHA News: Here's How Middle-Aged People -- Especially Women -- Can Avoid a Heart Attack

      A specific type called cardiorespiratory fitness may help predict the odds of having a heart attack, especially for women, new research shows. More...

    • Financial Scammers Often Prey on People With Early Dementia

      When older adults fall prey to scam artists, it might in some cases be an early warning of Alzheimer's disease, a new study suggests. More...

    • Pros, Cons to Multiple Meds for Nursing Home Residents

      There's an upside and a downside to prescribing nursing home residents a long list of medicines, new research confirms. More...

    • Gum Disease Shows Possible Links to Alzheimer's

      The bacteria involved in gum disease might play a key role in the development of Alzheimer's disease, new research suggests. More...

    • Americans' Pets Help Ease the Aging Process, Poll Finds

      About 55% of U.S. adults aged 50 to 80 have a pet, and an overwhelming majority of them say that their pets bring a host of positive benefits to their lives, the new National Poll on Healthy Aging found. More...

    • Health Tip: Preventing Falls Among Older Adults

      Every 11 seconds, an elderly person is taken to the hospital for a fall-related injury, says the U.S. National Council on Aging. More...

    • One Short, Brisk Walk a Day May Keep Arthritis at Bay

      Less than 10 minutes a day of brisk walking can help prevent disability in people with arthritis pain in their knee, hip, ankle or foot, researchers report. More...

    • Extra Calcium Safe for the Aging Eye

      To take calcium or not to take calcium, that is still the question. More...

    • Attention, Seniors: Drink More Water and Head Off Disease

      Not drinking enough water is a common but under-recognized problem among American seniors that puts their health at risk, researchers say. More...

    • Walk, Dance, Clean: Even a Little Activity Helps You Live Longer

      Want a reason to get out of your comfy armchair? Even low levels of regular physical activity -- brisk walking, dancing or gardening -- can reduce your risk of premature death, a new study finds. More...

    • Heart Attacks Fall By One-Third Among Older Americans

      Since the mid-1990s, the number of seniors who suffered a heart attack or died from one dropped dramatically -- evidence that campaigns to prevent heart attacks and improve patient care are paying off, Yale University researchers said. More...

    • Rate of U.S. Deaths Tied to Dementia Has More Than Doubled

      Dementia is now one of the leading killers in the United States, with the rate of deaths linked to the disease more than doubling over the past two decades. More...

    • Did You Wait Until Middle Age to Get Fit? It Could Still Boost Your Life Span

      It's truly never too late to begin exercising, new research shows. More...

    • Healthy Diet While Young, Healthy Brain in Middle Age

      Young adults who eat a heart-healthy diet may also be protecting their brain in middle age, a new study suggests. More...

    • Pooch Peril: More Elderly Are Fracturing Bones While Dog Walking

      Walking the dog can be great exercise for seniors, but there could be one downside: bone fractures. More...

    • Study Urges Seniors to Get Moving to Live Longer

      Researchers found that the people who were most fit were more than twice as likely to be alive a decade later than the least fit. More...

    • AHA News: A Home Near 'Green Space' Could Cut Heart Attack Risk

      Spending your golden years in a place with lots of trees and other vegetation can be visually pleasing – and it also might be good for your heart, according to a new study. More...

    • Too Few Seniors Are Getting Their Memory Tested

      Most seniors expect their doctor to recommend testing of thinking and memory when it's needed. More...

    • Poor Health Compounds Loneliness in Seniors

      Getting older can be a lonely business, and a new survey shows that health problems only make matters worse. More...

    • Medical Pot: An Elixir for the Elderly?

      Your grandparents' chronic aches and pains might best be eased with a little weed, a new study suggests. More...

    • Seniors With UTIs Need Antibiotics ASAP, Study Says

      For older adults with a urinary tract infection (UTI), antibiotic treatment should begin immediately to prevent serious complications, a new British study finds. More...

    • Too Much TV Might Dull the Aging Brain

      The old saying, "TV rots your brain," could have some validity for folks as they age. More...

    • What's the Right Age to Test for Osteoporosis?

      Osteoporosis is a threat to many women, especially after menopause. But the lead up to weak, brittle bones can start much earlier in life. More...

    • Being Socially Active Helps Older Folk Age Well

      Interacting with lots of different people may help you live longer and healthier, a new study suggests. More...

    • Protect Your Aging Eyes From Macular Degeneration

      Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an incurable eye disease that affects millions of older Americans, but there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk, a vision expert says. More...

    • Osteoporosis Often Missed in Elderly Men

      Osteoporosis is typically thought of as a woman's disease, but elderly men are also prone to bone loss -- even though they often aren't treated for it, a new study finds. More...

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