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December 31, 2012 0 Comments

Facts and Questions about Aging in America

People over age 85 are the fastest growing segment of the population.
People over age 85 have, on average, 15 contacts with health professionals per year.
The number of people over age 85 will quadruple by midcentury.
Already, there are more elderly Americans than there are people in Canada.
Is Canada really so sparsely populated?

People over age 65 are the second fastest growing segment of the population.
People over age 65 account for 13% of the population but nearly 50% of all hospital days.
Only 4% of people over age 65 live in nursing homes or other institutions.
Every day 10,000 Americans turn 65.
Is 65 elderly?

Geriatricians are doctors for the frail elderly.
Geriatrics is what medicine should be: care, compassion, choice, coordination, continuity
Geriatricians are always at the top of happiest doctors’ lists.
Happiness is defined as “(a) a state of well-being and contentment and (b) a pleasurable or satisfying experience”
The Dalai Lama said, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”

By 2050, one in five Americans will be elderly.
Tsunami – a cataclysm resulting from a destructive sea wave caused by an earthquake or volcanic eruption.
Cataclysm – a sudden and violent upheaval especially in a political or social context
Silver Tsunami – a term that captures the fear of many that, without planning, this rapid and unprecedented aging of the population will overwhelm and engulf us.
Is one in five a cataclysm; is the term Silver Tsunami a misnomer?

Have you ever cared about anyone over age 65?
Do or did you love your parents and grandparents?
Do you hope or expect to grow old?
If we know what great care of older adults looks like, why don’t more of us – individuals, health systems, providers, cities, states – do it?
Are we going about this all wrong?

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Resources:

New York Times Health: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/ and http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/

Health in Aging: http://www.healthinaging.org/

Family Caregiver Alliance: http://www.caregiver.org/

Talking to Your Doctor: http://www.nih.gov/clearcommunication/talktoyourdoctor.htm

Kaiser Health News: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/

NYU Literature, Arts and Medicine Database: http://litmed.med.nyu.edu/Main?action=new

Physician/student/health professional resources

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