January 2008 MedBytes: Geriatrics

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Practicing geriatricians in Texas are in short supply at a time when they're in the highest demand. Baby boomers are aging and increasingly requiring specialized health care services. The U.S. population aged 65 and older is projected to grow to 78 million by 2050. And, the number of Americans who fall into the 85-and-older age category will increase to an estimated 31.2 million. The resources listed below address caring for this aging population.

The American Geriatrics Society
The Geriatrics for Specialists segment of The American Geriatrics Society Web site,  www.americangeriatrics.org/specialists , links anesthesiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, emergency medicine physicians, general surgeons, gynecologists, ophthalmologists, orthopedic surgeons, otolaryngologists, urologists, and physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians to useful geriatric resources. Through its Web site, the society calls on surgical and medical specialists to carry considerable responsibility for future geriatric care. Click on Find out More under Getting Involved to learn about the need for more training in geriatrics, infusing geriatrics through the specialties, and the Geriatric for Specialists Project.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers an online repository of resources for older Americans and the health professionals who care for them. At the Healthy Aging Web site,  www.cdc.gov/aging , physicians will find links to the Public Health and Aging Listserv and Publications most helpful. Sign up for the Public Health and Aging Listserv to share with colleagues information about issues relating to healthy aging. The Publications site is chock full of downloadable PDFs and links to articles covering disease surveillance, arthritis, aging trends, hospitalizations for certain health conditions, and more.

National Institute on Aging
The National Institute on Aging,  www.nia.nih.gov , of the U.S. National Institutes of Health is the authority on aging research at the federal level. Home page contents are sparse, but the links open up to a wealth of information. For example, the Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center Web site directs you to current, comprehensive information and resources, as well as downloadable publications, a majority of which are free. The site also has a helpful patient resource. At  NIHSeniorHealth.gov , patients can learn more about diseases commonly affecting the elderly and their causes and risk factors, symptoms, treatments, and more.

Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
Visit the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) Web site,  www.dads.state.tx.us , to access a map that pinpoints Area Agencies on Aging, Mental Retardation Authorities, and state schools by county. Under Quick Links, click on Aging Texas Well to learn more about the department's program to help ensure Texans prepare for aging in all aspects of life and that state and local infrastructure, laws, policies, and services support aging well. Get information on promoting independence for residents with disabilities, access resources for DADS service providers, and learn more about DADS' advisory committees and councils.

U.S.Department of Health and Human Services
The Aging Web site,  www.hhs.gov/aging , of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contains data and statistics, information on diseases and conditions, hospitals and nursing homes, Medicare and Medicaid, safety and wellness, and resources for older people. Under Caregivers on the home page, click on the Administration on Aging's Guide for Caregivers. From there, select Professionals and Providers to be directed to resources on Ensuring the Health and Wellness of Our Nation's Family Caregivers, Laws and Regulations, Public Awareness National Campaign, and State-by-State Profiles.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, e-mail Crystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.



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