Who Will Care for Us Seniors?
Recently, an article appeared in the national press highlighting the shortage of geriatric medical doctors, called Geriatricians, who specialize in the diseases of older people– folks typically sixty-five and over, who suffer from a variety of diseases. Thoughtful friends sent me the article, several asking for my opinion. Today, I would like to offer my opinion in print.
First the really good news: according to the federal model, 70% of people over sixty-five do not see a geriatrician. The 30% who do often fall into the over eighty-five category and suffer from three or more chronic conditions. These statistics tell me that there are millions of fairly healthy seniors out there, and research backs this up. I find these numbers very encouraging, and believe these folks are more aware of healthy practices, and so take better care of themselves. That’s where gerontologists like me, and some MDs, come in because we promote ways to keep the aging body and mind healthy and free of disease. Prevention and retention are the most important words when it comes to getting older. Every time I put fingers to the keyboard my dominant thought is, how can I offer advice, or highlight research, which will help prevent decline and retain or enhance our precious facilities for our entire lives?
The truth is it’s easier to add things, whether they be supplements, healing foods, better self-care, regular sleep, and exercise, and greater attention to filling our lives with joy, especially when we are still quite healthy and mobile, than to fight our way back to health after developing a chronic condition. This, I believe is the future of the best practice of healthcare: preventative choices we can add into our day and so develop deep reserves which will keep us healthy and vibrant as we get older.
Should we need health care professionals, I love the action Dr. Mary Tinetti, Chief of Geriatrics at the Yale School of Medicine endorses by having “geriatricians to serve as ‘a small, elite work force’ who help train whole institutions in the specifics of care for older adults.” These other fields include nurse-practitioners, PAs, and pharmacists, all who become the foot soldiers for geriatricians. This extension of knowledge and care through different avenues will, I hope, serve those 30% well, as these medical professionals add their expertise to that of the geriatric specialists.
Why I like this idea so much stems from the unacceptable stereotype: ageism. The more fields (and the many people in those fields) that embrace and deal with aging, the less ageism will exist. My hope is that one day soon the general public will view aging issues without prejudice, but rather like pediatrics, just another part of human healthcare. With the help of those 70% of seniors who are doing well, the sea change is coming.
Until next time…Be Vibrant!
Who Will Care for Us Seniors?
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November 11, 2019–Great Remedies For Winter Illnesses
Cold and flu season is one time where non-pharmaceutical remedies excel at bolstering the immune system to efficiently squash symptoms before they evolve into a serious illness. Adding more Vitamin C, D, and zinc to your daily regimen strengthens your immune system and may help you avoid that nasty cold.
November 18, 2019: Raising Our Awareness to Help Prevent
Exercise, proper diet and rest, social connections, and lowered stress all play huge roles in lowering one’s propensity for developing Alzheimer’s. Learning to play an instrument shows promise, as well.
November 25, 2019 A Gratitude Attitude is Where It’s At
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December 2, 2019–Great Remedies for Winter Illnesses
Herbs and dietary supplements — one area where non-pharmaceutical remedies excel at bolstering the immune system to efficiently squash symptoms before they evolve into a serious illness. The qualities of Vitamin C, zinc, and Vitamin D are covered in this post.
December 9, 2019–Get Hygge, Be Happier!
Hygge, pronounced “hoo-gah” is a Danish term defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” (The Little Book of Hygge). This superior Scandinavian practice has no direct translation in English, but “cozy and comfy” comes close. Find time, especially during busy holiday seasons, to recharge, reflect, reorient, and revive, in other words, find time to hygge!
December 16, 2019—Some Ideas for Bringing In 2020
The year 2020 seems especially auspicious, being the sequential year of the century, and the beginning of a new decade. I offer a winning, triple-play suggestion to bring in the New Year—combining exercise, a personal commitment to oneself, and being fully present.
December 23, 2019—A Plan for 2020
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December 30, 2019—Fourth Quarter Recap