Is There Comedy in Geriatric Care? Yes, on HBO

Getting On, HBO’s off-kilter new comedy series, is about nurses and doctors working in a female geriatric care unit at a California hospital – not exactly the sort of setting that would seem to inspire humor. Still, the show has genuinely funny moments, even while it remains realistic about its environment. It’s a delicate balancing act, though. Take the first moments of the show’s premiere, which airs Sunday night at 10 on the pay cable network: brand-new nurse Didi (Niecy …

The Doctor Will (Really) See You Now: An Alzheimer’s Program

The Buddy Program, an initiative that pairs medical students with those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s for social activities, not doctoring, is proving therapeutic for both sides. Students learn about dementia outside the classroom so it is demystified and humanized, while people with Alzheimer’s get to act as mentors. The mentors not only have fun, but also feel that they are contributing to future physicians’  understanding of a disease they will inevitably face with their patients. Over the course …

What Did Your Doctor Ask You? Not Much, Says Poll

Doctors are falling short in the primary care they offer Americans age 65 and older, says a new poll. This is not about expensive medical procedures — just some basic questions and interventions that could protect against future health problems as we age. The new survey, from the John H. Hartford Foundation, looked at whether seniors had received seven services that would support “healthy aging.” The seven included: an annual medication review, a falls risk assessment and history, depression screening, …

Too Many Pills: Are We Over-Medicated As We Age?

How many pills do you take a day? Five? Six? More? More than 40 percent of Americans age 65 and older take five medications a day, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and each year more than a third will suffer an adverse side effect as a result. New York Times health writer Jane Brody recently wrote about the disastrous effects of over-medication on her 92-year-old aunt, who was taking seven prescription …

The Takeaway: Hospitals Open Seniors-Only Emergency Rooms

Emergency Rooms of Their Own: A growing number of American hospitals have been debuting emergency rooms designed specifically for older adults, generally those 65 and up. Special accommodations include things like nonskid floors, rails along the walls, extra heating units, thicker mattresses to reduce bedsores and artificial skylights intended to combat “sundowning.”

Notable News December 14

We’ve talked about older Americans and technology in the past, and here’s another testament to the fact that those of retirement age are really making use of the latest technologies – from mobile phones to DVRs to the “simple” internet. Check out this short article from the New York Times article – it says that people over 65 “spent 47 percent more time than the previous year watching embedded video within social networks.” That’s a lot of growth! Here’s an …