Ageism in Medicine

Aging, as a distinct category of life, doesn’t get the attention it needs. By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older. The topic of Geriatrics and how to support the aging community, has never been more important.

Imagine a better way. Older adults would be seen as “different than,” not “less than.” The phases of later life would be mapped and expertise in aging would be valued, not discounted. With the growth of the elder population, it’s time for this to happen, argues Dr. Louise Aronson, a geriatrician and professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco, in her new book, “Elderhood.”

-A Doctor Speaks out about Ageism in Medicine, KNH.org

Excerpts from an interview with Dr. Aronson follow:

“I’ve been focusing on what I call the five P’s. First, the whole person — not the disease — is my foremost concern.

Prevention comes next. Evidence shows that you can increase the strength and decrease the frailty of people through age 100. The more unfit you are, the greater the benefits from even a small amount of exercise. And yet, doctors don’t routinely prescribe exercise. I do that.

It’s really clear that purpose, the third P, makes a huge difference in health and wellness. So, I ask people, “What are your goals and values? What makes you happy? What is it you are doing that you like best or you wish you were doing that you’re not doing anymore?” And then I try to help them make that happen.

I work [on this] with people, I ask, “Let’s figure out a way for you to keep doing the things that are important to you. Do you need new skills? Do you need to change your environment? Do you need to do a bit of both?””

Read the full article here.

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