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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

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  • People Are Now Living More Years in Good Health: Study

    Older adults may not only be living longer, but better as well, according to a new U.K. study. More...

  • Lots of Napping Could Raise a Senior's Odds for Alzheimer's

    Taking longer or more frequent naps during the day may sound enticing, but it may be a harbinger of Alzheimer's disease. More...

  • Pfizer Asks FDA to Approve Second Booster for Seniors

    Pfizer Inc. said Tuesday that it has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the emergency use of a second booster shot for Americans 65 and older. More...

  • Is It 'Pre-Alzheimer's' or Normal Aging? Poll Finds Many Americans Unclear

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      Many older Americans have concerns about elective surgery beforehand, but most who go through with it are satisfied with the outcome, a new survey finds. More...

    • Good End-of-Life Care Out of Reach for Many Black Nursing Home Residents

      Palliative care can be a godsend in the final days of one's life, but new research shows that Black and Hispanic nursing home residents are far less likely to receive it than their white peers are. More...

    • More Evidence That Education May Protect Against Dementia

      Not everyone who becomes forgetful as they age develops dementia, and a new study suggests that those with college degrees and advanced language skills are likely to get better. More...

    • Lifestyle Factors Key to Keeping Good Vision With Age

      Keeping your drinking and your weight in check can help protect your sight as you age, experts say. More...

    • AHA News: Plant-Based Diet May Slow Cognitive Decline in Black Adults as They Age

      Eating a predominantly plant-based diet may substantially slow the rate of cognitive decline in older Black adults in the U.S., according to preliminary research. More...

    • Arthritis Is a Scourge Worldwide

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    • Staying Fit May Keep Alzheimer's at Bay

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    • Your Dog May Help Keep Disability at Bay

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    • Getting Active Can Keep Those 'Senior Moments' at Bay

      New research shows that when sedentary older adults started to exercise, they showed improvements in episodic memory, or the ability to vividly recall meaningful moments and events. More...

    • These Simple Steps Can Help Seniors Manage Their Health Care

      Navigating the health care system can be challenging, but an expert urges older people not to try to go it alone. More...

    • Human Brain Doesn't Slow Down Until After 60

      Your response time does tend to slow down as you age, but a new study argues that's not because your brain's processing speed is deteriorating. More...

    • Many Who Postponed Health Care During COVID Are Still Waiting

      Many of the nearly one-third of older Americans who had a medical procedure, primary care visit or dental appointment canceled or postponed due to COVID still haven't received that care, a new poll finds. More...

    • Never Too Late:  Starting Exercise in 70s Can Help the Heart

      If you're in your 70s and get 20 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous exercise, you may ward off heart disease in your 80s, new Italian research suggests. More...

    • Is Sleep Apnea CPAP Useless for Folks Over 80?

      It's called CPAP for short, and the treatment helps millions with sleep apnea breathe better at night. But new research suggests it might not make any difference for patients over 80. More...

    • Apps Can Help Keep Older Folks Healthy — But Most Don't Use Them

      Health apps monitor everything from calories and exercise to blood pressure and blood sugar to help users manage chronic conditions or achieve health goals. More...

    • Clutter in the Attic: Why Memory Falters With Age

      Seniors struggle with memory not because they have trouble remembering things, but because their minds are too overloaded with a lifetime's worth of memories. More...

    • What You Need to Know About Urinary Incontinence

      Everyone has had a case of the squirms at some point in their life, fighting the need to urinate as a full bladder presses them to let it all go. But for some, that need occurs far too often. Or, even worse, they go accidentally when they sneeze or laugh. More...

    • Macular Degeneration Can Rob You of Sight: Know the Signs

      Early diagnosis and care can often stop the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of vision loss in older Americans, the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) says. More...

    • Medicare to Provide Free COVID-19 Rapid Tests

      Medicare will soon provide up to eight free COVID rapid tests a month to seniors enrolled in the government health insurance program, the Biden administration announced Thursday. More...

    • Take That Walk: Your Aging Brain Will Work Better

      Worried about losing your mental faculties as you age? Get out there and exercise, new research suggests. More...

    • Shorter Life Spans for Elderly Living Downwind of Fracking Sites: Study

      Older people who live near or downwind of fracking sites have an increased risk of premature death, likely due to airborne contaminants from the sites, according to a new study. More...

    • Keeping Weight Stable Could Help Save Your Brain

      Older adults who maintain a steady weight as they age are less likely to experience rapid cognitive decline, regardless of how much they weigh to start, new research suggests. More...

    • How Many Steps to Walk Away From Diabetes?

      The more steps you take -- and the more intensely you walk -- the lower your odds for type 2 diabetes, researchers found. More...

    • Some Patients With Macular Degeneration Could Stop Monthly Eye Injections

      A preliminary study raises the possibility that some patients can safely be "weaned off" the treatment. More...

    • After Heart Attack, Cardiac Rehab Begins Road to Recovery

      Fewer than one in 10 eligible Medicare beneficiaries get recommended heart failure rehab treatments, the American Heart Association recently noted. More...

    • COVID Boosters Keep Older Americans Out of Hospitals: CDC

      The risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 among older Americans is far higher for those who are unvaccinated than for those who are fully vaccinated and have had a booster shot, new government data shows. More...

    • Do You Feel Old? It Could Be Aging You

      People who believe their bodies and minds will break down with age may be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, a recent study suggests. More...

    • Cleaner Air Could Mean Healthier Brains for Older Women

      Everyone knows cleaner air means healthier bodies, but new research suggests it might also help aging minds. More...

    • Four Factors in Midlife Predict a Healthy Old Age for Women

      Four specific factors -- higher body mass index (BMI), smoking, arthritis and depressive symptoms -- at age 55 are associated with clinically important declines in physical health 10 years later, a new study reports. More...

    • Scientists Work Out How Exercise Saves Your Brain

      Older folks who are more physically active have higher levels of a protein that promotes better communication between the brain's synapses, a new study reports. More...

    • Medicare May Rethink Premium Hike for Pricey Alzheimer’s Drug

      Medicare has been told to reassess a significant premium increase it had announced that largely stemmed from the expensive new Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm. More...

    • Quality of Home Health Care Varies Between Urban, Rural Areas

      Need in-home health care? Know this: The quality of your care may depend on where you live. More...

    • Make 2022 Your Year for a Free Memory Screening

      The Alzheimer's Foundation of America offers routine screenings that are both virtual and free every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. More...

    • More U.S. Seniors, Especially Women, Are Retaining Healthy Brains: Study

      The percentage of older Americans reporting serious problems with memory and thinking has declined in recent years -- and higher education levels may be part of the reason, a new study finds. More...

    • More U.S. Women Are Retaining Their Hearing as They Age

      Hearing loss can happen with advancing age, but fewer American women appear to be affected now than in the past. More...

    • Over 60? You Have Billions of Potentially Cancer-Causing Cells

      The vast majority of these mutations won't do anything and most people (60%) will go their entire lives without a cancer diagnosis. More...

    • Many Seniors on Medicare Falling Into Medical Debt

      "Medicare For All" gets tossed around a lot by advocates of universal health coverage, but a new study finds that today's Medicare is far from free for seniors and people with disabilities. More...

    • Certain Meds Raise Odds for Delirium After Surgery

      Older adults have a higher risk of delirium after hip and knee surgery if they're taking anxiety, depression or insomnia drugs, researchers say. More...

    • Overactive Bladder, Dangerous Falls Often Go Together for Seniors

      An overactive bladder isn't just a nuisance and a source of embarrassment. For the elderly, it can also trigger a potentially fatal fall, a Canadian study says. More...

    • Could Viagra Help Prevent Alzheimer's?

      Looking at data on more than 7 million Americans, researchers found that those taking the drug were 69% less likely to develop Alzheimer's, when compared to non-users. More...

    • Clearing Out Clutter Might Not Help People With Dementia

      ou might think de-cluttering would make it easier for people with dementia to do daily tasks. Not so, says a new study from the United Kingdom. More...

    • Black Americans Less Likely to Lose Hearing as They Age

      Older Black Americans are much more likely to have good hearing than white Americans, and the difference is especially notable among men, a new study shows. More...

    • 'Mild Cognitive Impairment' in Older Age Often Disappears, Study Finds

      A diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) might worry an older adult, who could see it as a stepping stone to dementia. But a new study suggests one does not necessarily lead to the other. More...

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