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Health Concerns in the Elderly

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Health Concerns in the Elderly, Health Maintenance in Older Adults, Geriatrics, Geriatric Health Maintenance Exam, Geriatric Assessment, Medicare Annual Wellness Visit

  • Epidemiology
  • Screening
  • Common Syndromes in the Elderly
  1. Dementia
    1. Concerns regarding decreased cognition by friends, family
    2. See Mini-Cog
    3. See SLUMS Exam
  2. Urinary Incontinence
    1. In the past year, have you ever lost your urine and gotten wet?
    2. Have you lost your urine on at least 6 separate days
  3. Fall Prevention in the Elderly
    1. Falls in the last year?
      1. Associated with 2.8 fold increased risk of falls in the next year
      2. Ganz (2007) JAMA 297(1):77-86 [PubMed]
    2. See Get Up and Go Test
    3. Consider Home Safety Self-Assessment Tool
  4. Polypharmacy
    1. See Medication Use in the Elderly
    2. See Drug-Drug Interactions in the Elderly
  • Screening
  • Psychosocial Concerns
  1. Nutrition
    1. See Geriatric Nutrition Checklist
    2. Have you lost weight in the previous 6 months?
  2. Activity in the Elderly
    1. Activities of Daily Living (e.g. dressing, toileting, bathing, eating, walking)
    2. Activities of Daily Living Scale
    3. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (e.g. shopping, managing medications, finances)
  3. Elder Abuse
  4. Driving Assessment
  5. Behavioral risks
    1. Alcohol Abuse (and other agents, such as opiods, Benzodiazepines)
    2. Tobacco abuse
    3. New sexual partners
  6. Geriatric Depression
    1. See Geriatric Depression Scale
    2. See Five-Item Geriatric Depression Scale
    3. See Patient Health Questionaire 9 (PHQ-9)
  • History
  1. Self assessment of health status (excellent, good, fair, poor)
  2. Update recent medical events (emergency department visits, hospitalizations, surgeries)
  3. Family History of longevity, cognitive Impairment
  4. Medication reconciliation
    1. See Medication Use in the Elderly (includes Beers Criteria and STOPP)
    2. See Polypharmacy
  • Exam
  • Head and Neck
  1. Face
    1. Facial asymmetry (e.g. neurovascular disease)
    2. Frontal bossing (Paget's Disease)
  2. Eyes
    1. Vision Loss (Macular Degeneration, Cataracts, Glaucoma)
  3. Ears
    1. Hearing Loss
  4. Mouth
    1. Oral Lesions (denture fit, Leukoplakia)
    2. Xerostomia (e.g. Diabetes Mellitus, Sjogren's Syndrome, Anticholinergic Medications)
  5. Neck
    1. Carotid Bruit
    2. Thyroid mass
  • Exam
  • Trunk
  1. Heart Exam
  2. Lung Exam
  3. Abdomen
    1. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
    2. Constipation (drug-related, Colon Cancer, dehydration)
    3. Fecal Incontinence (e.g. Fecal Impaction)
    4. Rectal bleeding
  4. Genitourinary
    1. Vaginal Atrophy
    2. Prostate enlargement
    3. Urinary Incontinence
  • Exam
  • Extremity
  1. Feet
    1. Bunions, Callus, and non-healing sores
    2. Peripheral Vascular Disease
    3. Venous Insufficiency
  2. Joints
    1. Painful range of motion
    2. Antalgic Gait
  3. Neurologic
    1. Get Up and Go Test
    2. Ataxia
    3. Parkinsonian Tremor
    4. Cognition
  • Prevention
  • Counseling for over age 65 years
  1. Tobacco Cessation
    1. Quitting as late as age 65 still increases Life Expectancy 1-3 years
    2. Taylor (2002) Am J Public Health 92(6): 990-6 [PubMed]
  2. Heart Healthy Diet (e.g. Mediterranean Diet)
  3. Exercise in the Elderly
  4. Weight management
  5. Nutrition
  6. Home Adaptations for the Elderly
  7. Advance Care Planning
    1. Long-term care
    2. Advanced Directives (e.g. POLST, Living Will)
    3. Durable Power of Attorney
  8. Vaccination
    1. Influenza Vaccine annually
    2. Tdap at least once, and then Tetanus Vaccine every 10 years
    3. Prevnar-13 Vaccine at age 65 years and PneumovaxVaccine at age 66 years
    4. Herpes Zoster Vaccine (Shingrix) at age 50 years old (if immunocompetent)
  • Prevention
  • Screening
  1. See Health Maintenance in Adults
  2. Precautions
    1. Take Life Expectancy into account when discussing cancer screening
    2. Breast and Colorectal Cancer Screening is not recommend if <10 year Life Expectancy
    3. Paradoxically, the healthiest patients are screened less than those in with the lowest Life Expectancy
  3. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening with Abdominal Ultrasound
    1. Screen men between ages 65 to 75 if any history of Tobacco abuse (consider in women)
  4. Breast Cancer Screening with Mammograms
    1. Every other year in women up to age 75 AND
    2. May continue based on shared decision making IF at least 10 years Life Expectancy
  5. Cervical Cancer Screening with Pap Smears
    1. May be discontinued after age 65 unless dysplasia history or inadequate prior screening
  6. Colorectal Cancer Screening
    1. See Colon Cancer Screening with Colonoscopy for recommended intervals
    2. Routine screening until age 75 years and may be considered in age 76 to 85 years
    3. Stop screening when Life Expectancy <10 years
  7. Prostate Cancer Screening
    1. Controversial at any age
    2. Avoid screening over age 70 years OR Life Expectancy <10 to 15 years
  8. Osteoporosis Screening
    1. See Osteoporosis Screening
  9. Lung Cancer Screening CT Chest
    1. Adults 55 to 77 years old with >30 pack year history of smoking AND
    2. Currently smoking or quit within last 15 years