As Baby Boomers age, concerns over healthcare systems' abilities to accommodate geriatric patients grow. This is especially true with the
the oldest of the old population: those aged 85+. This demographic is the fastest growing segment of most developed countries. In the U.S., the group is projected to double to 9.6 million by 2030. Increased life expectancy since the early 1900s has been built on the improvement of living conditions, diet, public health and advancement in medical care. With this we have seen a steady decline in the age-specific prevalence of vascular and heart diseases, stroke and even dementia. Older persons are healthier today than decades ago. More importantly than any other age group, care of this group must be individualized; management decisions should consider the persons' wishes, quality of life, function and mental capacity. Inevitably, there is an increase in the prevalence of older persons with chronic diseases, multiple co-existing pathologies and neuro-degenerative diseases. The population is often excluded from drug trials and treatments are largely based on findings extrapolated from that of the younger old. Furthermore, physiologically they are more diverse than other segments of the population. Their demographic characteristics are unparalleled and different compared to the younger old. Several studies have drawn attention to attitudes among health professionals towards elderly people and many show prejudice because they are old. As a result, the use of age as a criteria in determining the appropriateness of treatment has limited validity, yet there are limited resources that guide physicians through these challenges. This book creates a greater awareness of these challenges and offers practical guidelines for working within the infrastructures vital to this demographic. This book is designed for geriatricians, primary care physicians, junior medical officers, specialty geriatrics nurses, and gerontologists.