Geriatricians discuss how to safely prescribe medicine for seniors
There is a huge demographic shift taking place in Bergen County, as well as the rest of the country. There are now 50 million aging baby boomers. “The fastest growing age group is people over the age of 85,” notes Dr. Bennett Leifer, a geriatrician with Valley Medical Group and director of geriatric transition of care at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. Geriatricians are clinically trained providers in the science of aging.
“This involves maintaining quality of life for seniors by managing multiple chronic functional limitations,” Leifer says. He emphasizes that an important component of his practice is “minimizing unnecessary medication use, and thus avoiding hospitalization.”
Dr. Lisa Tank, chief of geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center and the latest recipient of the Clinician of the Year award from the American Geriatrics Society, advises that “adverse drug reactions are one of the most common reasons elderly patients end up in the hospital, and 90 percent of these events can be prevented.”
Why is prescribing for older adults different than prescribing for those who are younger?
“A normal physiological part of getting older is that the body