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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: 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...

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    • 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...

    • Guys, Can You Do 40 Push-Ups? Heart-Healthy Life May Be Yours

      If you're a 40-something guy and can't do 40 push-ups in a row, maybe it's time to do something about it. More...

    • How Inactivity and Junk Food Can Harm Your Brain

      If you're in your 50s and your typical day involves sitting at a desk followed by lounging on the sofa and succumbing to late-night snacks, the long-term toll on your mind might be greater than you think. More...

    • Are Hearing Loss, Mental Decline Related?

      Dementia is hard to predict, but hearing loss might signal a higher risk, a new study suggests. More...

    • Health Tip: Anti-Aging Skin Suggestions

      As we age, so does our skin. With that comes wrinkles and age spots. More...

    • What Makes Seniors Feel in Control?

      What determines how much control seniors feel they have over their lives? New research offers some answers. More...

    • Better Heart Care Saves U.S. Billions a Year, Study Finds

      Efforts to keep seniors heart-healthy have saved tens of billions of dollars in U.S. health care costs in recent years, researchers say. More...

    • Women's Brains May Be More 'Age-Resistant' Than Men's

      On average, women's brains appear to be about three years younger than those of men at the same chronological age. This could provide one clue to why women tend to stay mentally sharp longer than men, the authors noted. More...

    • What Illness Lands the Most Seniors in the ER?

      For seniors who often find themselves in the ER, complications from diabetes is the most common culprit, new research shows. More...

    • A Prescription for Feeling Young Forever

      You know about the value of exercise for heart health and for staying strong and independent as you age. There's also proof that exercise keeps your body young physically as well as mentally. More...

    • Protecting Seniors From Scammers

      It seems as though every day brings warnings about phone and internet scammers, with older Americans being particularly vulnerable. More...

    • Frailty a Risk Factor for Dementia

      Frailty is associated with a higher risk of both Alzheimer's disease and its crippling symptoms, a new study shows. More...

    • Stem Cell Therapy Shows Early Promise Against Macular Degeneration

      Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in seniors, and existing treatments are few. More...

    • Keep Moving to Keep Brain Sharp in Old Age

      Staying active in old age may help preserve your memory and thinking skills, a new study suggests. More...

    • Want to Live Longer? Just Sit a Bit Less Each Day

      Researchers say even a few extra minutes off the sofa each day can add years to your life span. More...

    • What Makes for a Good Nursing Home?

      Families of nursing home residents are more likely to be satisfied with facilities that have higher staffing levels and are nonprofits, a new study finds. More...

    • Hearing Aid Upkeep Often Out of Reach for the Poor

      If you're poor, you'll likely have less success with your hearing aid, a new study finds. More...

    • 'Meaningful' Activities May Mean Healthier Old Age

      Older adults who find meaning in their daily activities may remain in better health as they age, a new study suggests. More...

    • Listen Up! Hearing Loss Tied to Late-Life Depression

      Hearing loss among seniors is not always recognized and treated, but if it were it might help head off late-life depression, a new report suggests. More...

    • As You Age, Alcohol May Be Harder to Handle

      Seniors may be more vulnerable to alcoholism, a psychologist warns. More...

    • Many Middle-Aged Americans Worried About Health Insurance: Poll

      Many middle-aged folks nearing retirement have serious concerns about their health insurance coverage, a new survey shows. More...

    • How Seniors Can Prevent Hypothermia This Winter

      In winter, older adults are at higher risk of losing body heat and slipping into potentially fatal hypothermia, U.S. health officials warn. More...

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