What exactly does geriatrics have to do with the buzzing areas of innovation in aging, and in health care?
Several months ago, at a Bay Area gathering related to innovation and aging, I remarked to one of the organizers that these events generally didn’t seem to include much conversation about the health needs of older adults.
“Oh, we’re not doing health. We’re doing aging,” was the reply.
Ah. I see.
I was a little surprised by this statement, but not very. Obviously, if you are a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail. I’m a physician specialized in the care of aging adults, so when I look at an elderly person, I see the underlying health concerns and age-related vulnerabilities.
But over the past several years that I’ve been talking with people interested in “aging” (e.g. in public health school, at the caregiving website where I used to write, and now with the entrepreneurs and innovators wanting to serve the “aging market”), I’ve noticed two recurring issues:
People often think of aging issues and health issues as different topic areas. Because of this, people offering to help with life problems in aging adults often don’t make as many connections to health issues as they could.
Connecting Life, Health, and Aging
Thoughts? Feedback? Please post in the comments below!
(PS: I also experimented with a different definition of what is geriatrics in the talk. I’ll write about that in an upcoming post.)