AGE/OLD Questions

The Geriatrician's Guide to Aging: What's normal, what's not, and what you can do

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Coming in 2021
Rosanne M. Leipzig
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Over half of Americans who turn 65 will live to be 85 or more.
These later years can be a real gift.
 As a geriatrician who has cared for thousands of older people, I've learned that the key to aging well is having a sense of what to expect, while maintaining an open, flexible attitude to accept and adapt to that change.
I’m not ANTI-aging, I’m PRO-aging. 
Aging 101
Aging Mythbusters
Wisdom to guide you through the years

 "I'm too old for this!"

Getting older comes with one clear benefit: you're less insecure about yourself. You're more likely to say what you're thinking and do what you want than when you were younger.

1  You still need 7–8 hours of sleep.

It just may be harder to get! With aging, it can take you a little longer to fall asleep and your level of sleep may be lighter. Medical and/or psychological conditions may wake you up at night, after which it can be harder to fall back to sleep. 

Everybody ages. It's inevitable.

Do you know anyone who looks and acts the same, decade after decade? From birth onward, life is changing, and that's a natural thing. Resistance is futile. Being in denial about aging is guaranteed to make you miserable. Creatively adapting to changes as they occur will allow you to do what matters most to you.

Some changes ARE due to "normal" aging.

2  Bed rest is good...for dead people.

Though there are a few exceptions, bed rest is not good for you. The less you move and the more you stay in bed, the more deconditioned and dehydrated your body will become. This is especially true if you’re in the hospital. Loss of muscle strength happens quickly, while rebuilding it can take a long time.  

Needing glasses or hearing aids, or having trouble remembering proper nouns is to be expected as you age. These changes don’t occur in the same order or to the same degree in everyone. What's "normal" doesn't mean that you will like these changes, nor does it mean that there’s nothing you can do about them.

Some changes are NOT due to "normal" aging.

Learn a lesson from my patient, Harry, who went to see the orthopedist because of pain in his left knee. When the doctor said, "What do you expect? You're 90 years old!" Harry replied, "My right knee is ALSO 90 years old, and it feels fine." 

Sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, are becoming more common in the older population. Chlamydia infections among Americans aged 65 and over increased by 31 percent, and syphilis by 52 percent between 2007 and 2011. Attention to safe safe, which includes the use of condoms, remains vital as you age, especially in non-monagamous relationships. You are never too old to be at risk.

3  You still need to to worry about safe sex.