Medicine, We're Still Practicing: Caring for Elders
The podcast "Medicine, We're Still Practicing" recently featured Sonja Rosen, MD, chief of Geriatric Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, in an episode about providing the best possible care to older patients and improving their quality of life.
Rosen told podcast hosts Bill Curtis and Steven Taback, MD, that there are currently 35 million people over age 65 in the U.S., a number that will double in less than a decade. In order to provide these patients with age-friendly care, Rosen suggested focusing on the "four M's": what matters most to patients, patients’ mentation or mental acuity, medications, and mobility.
An easy way to address several of these concerns is through regular exercise, Rosen said.
"One of the most crippling things when people get older is the stiffness of arthritis and functional issues with gait and balance," Rosen told Curtis and Taback. "Movement, walking, helps prevent that."
Exercise also is the only evidence-based intervention to help prevent dementia. "A lot of people are looking for the newest medication," said Rosen, "when it's really a low-tech solution: Walk 45 minutes a day."
Patients who can't walk have many options, including chair exercise, swimming, and online programs, Rosen said. Group exercise classes—virtual or in person—have the added benefit of reducing social isolation and loneliness.
Rosen also addressed another important key to keeping older adults healthy: keeping track of their many medications. With the average older patient taking as many as 15 different medications, managing them can be a challenge.
"That's why spending the low-tech, old-fashioned time of just going through each medication and making sure I, as the provider, know everything that the patient is taking is key," she said.
Click here to listen to the complete episode from "Medicine, We're Still Practicing."