ElderLaw News — The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Appreciating the Aging Process

While most people fear the prospect of aging, there are some who appreciate its benefits. That is not to say the process of aging doesn’t come with some negatives, but those can be handled if we look to the science of aging.

According to Dr. Linda P. Fried, an epidemiologist and geriatrician who is dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, an aging world population and climbing health care costs have implications for public health in the 21st century. Schools of Public Health like Mailman of Columbia University are attempting to integrate what is known in several fields and to create an interdisciplinary approach to "reflect a new emphasis on health preservation and prevention for every stage of life." (Karen Pennar, "Unafraid of Aging," NY Times, June 25, 2012)

Dr. Fried’s life work has been to foster a tremendous body of scientific research on the process of aging. Before coming to Columbia University 4 years ago, she spent more than 2 decades at Johns Hopkins University studying information on the health of more than 5,000 men and women 65 years and older as part of their Cardiovascular Health Study. She also analyzed data on 1,000 women over age 65 for Johns Hopkins’ Women’s Health and Aging Study. Armed with this information, she has become a pioneer in the area of frailty in the elderly. She also has developed a simple assessment tool that uses 5 criteria to test for frailty. Researchers now refer to a "frailty syndrome," a term which she coined. As part of this syndrome, her younger colleagues are studying how the frail react to various stressors in their environment. "...the frailty syndrome that Dr. Fried describes is at once simple in its constituent elements and complex in the manner in which those elements interact. In a sort of negative synergism, insufficient nutrition can lead to loss of muscle mass, which can reduce strength and walking speed, which in turn reduces overall activity and energy. All of these factors interact to dysregulate the immunological, endocrinological, and other systems in the body." (Karen Pennar, "Unafraid of Aging, NY Times, June 25, 2012) Her research is considered as the new gold standard in the area of assessment and treatment of geriatric patients. Her work is studied in every geriatric program in the US.

At age 63, she herself is a model for what an older adult is capable of doing. She continues to research. Her latest focus is how to engage the elderly in meaningful volunteer work, which could start before a person actually retires and continue into their retirement. Keeping active and engaged fosters bodily health. Other projects stress cross-disciplinary topics such as disease prevention and housing for the aged. She is devoted to improving the lives of the elderly, and all will benefit from her focus and dedication.

(All information for this feature was taken from the NY Times article previously mentioned.)

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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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