Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How to Take Care of the Very Old and Still Preserve Their Independence

By Dena Rifkin, MD

We treated a very old woman in the hospital this week. She was nearly 100, but looked ageless, sitting by the window and watching the world go slowly by her. She had gotten unsteady and short of breath at home and was waiting for us to make things better.

There’s something regal about the very old. As a physician, I tread lightly with them. They are survivors, but fragile. The slightest change or perturbation in their care can lead to all kinds of complications, from disorientation or delirium to falls. In fact, preventing falls and delirium in the elderly is a major focus of geriatric practice and research. Read More

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