An excerpt from How To Be A Merry Widow - Life after Death for the Older Lady. You are like an animal cut off from the herd; people are social beings and need to be with others. The very word ‘"solitary" brings fear even to the most hardened criminal. ...

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I dedicate this to each of you who have cared for or are currently caring for an ill parent or family member.  Recently, due to the stress that several of my dearest friends have been experiencing in caring for their elderly parents, I am even more appreciative and respectful of my privilege in caring for elderly patients who have attentive and loving adult children who accompany them to our ER. Although this ...

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One of the major challenges of being on medical school rotations is the necessity of changing rotations every four weeks, and how adapting to each new specialty feels like going through the first day of school all over again. I want to share my experience on other side of the coin. About a year ago, I started participating in Stanford’s Continuity of Care program, a clerkship in which I am excused from ...

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Often people (mostly residents and medical students) ask why on earth did I choose to do a geriatric fellowship? My response is because it is the medicine of the future. While we are all aging, the fastest growing age groups are those born between 1946 to 1964. The Baby Boomers. The Silver Tsunami. The Grey Hoard. Call it what you will, but estimates are that by 2060, 98 million (24 ...

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These days we are talking more about advanced directives and living wills in health care. This is progress, but as a member of the sandwich generation, I am focused on the aging process. I don’t have kids, but I have parents and have the honor of watching patients struggle with aging and helping loved ones grow old — walking the long, winding and thorny road. Patients have asked me, “Where are ...

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I recently stopped by our local grocery store after work to pick up a handful of items to bring home. With only four items in hand, I luckily found a short checkout line behind this lovely elderly couple who were almost done and ready to pay. As they smiled and made small talk with the cashier, I imagined a typical geriatric medical story about them. They appeared in good health which ...

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Caregiving is often described as a sacrifice. One individual bears a burden to care for another. There's a connotation of drainage, evocations of burned-out batteries and tired limbs. I was a premedical student. I was aggressive in pursuing an MD. I wanted to be the best doctor I could be. I did not realize that required me to become a much a better person. I left school to care for my grandmother. ...

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My 81-year-old patient came in several weeks ago and disclosed that he had stopped taking his aspirin after watching a news report on television. “They said I didn’t need it anymore,” he told me. I gently informed him that this news didn’t apply to him. He was responding to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, which showed that aspirin failed to prevent ...

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Prevailing wisdom states that more is better — and it is no different when it comes to our expectation of medical treatments. With the help of the internet, patients and their families have come to expect intensive tests, treatments and therapies at every life stage. But sometimes, too much treatment can do more harm than good. This is true in all ages but is especially relevant for older adults living with ...

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It was my first day of orientation at medical school. In a hallway stood a coat rack overflowing with white garments. I set down my accumulated papers, reached for a hanger and — for the first time ever — shrugged first one arm and then the other into a white coat. It was too large, but I had no other options. The unisex coats ran from XXS to XXL, but the ...

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