Failing to focus on healthy aging: A frailty of our discipline?

  • Friedman S
  • Shah K
  • Hall W
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Abstract

The academic geriatrics community has provided outstanding leadership in addressing frailty and complexity in older adults, but a minority of older adults are frail. Although resources to treat older adults are limited, and it is appropriate to focus clinical efforts on those with frailty and multimorbidity, there is also important expertise that can be brought to bear on the health of ALL older adults. A review of the literature suggests that attention to healthy or successful aging has failed to keep pace with the focus on frailty. By providing leadership to promote successful aging, the quality of life of older adults across the spectrum can be improved and transitions to frailty reduced. The template that leaders have established in understanding frailty-defining and operationalizing it, understanding outcomes, identifying pathophysiology-can be used as an approach to successful aging. Several community-based programs have been successful in promoting successful aging. These are potentially highly scalable and could have a substantial effect on the aging population, but their essential components need to be better understood. The geriatrics community is uniquely positioned to take on this role. This is a critical time to work together to make the lives of all older adults as healthy and fulfilling as possible.

Author-supplied keywords

  • healthy aging
  • lifestyle modification
  • prevention
  • successful aging

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Authors

  • Susan M. Friedman

  • Krupa Shah

  • William J. Hall

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