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February 25, 1961

Medical Management of Older Patients

Author Affiliations

Winston-Salem, N. C.

From the Department of Internal Medicine, Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest College.

JAMA. 1961;175(8):649-653. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040080005002

The long-term management of the older patient is to be distinguished from the treatment of acute illness. The first interview must help to establish a satisfactory long-term relationship between patient and physician. The physical examination must be systematic and complete, but thoroughness is not incompatible with gentleness and tact. Methods of treatment should take into account the patient's life-long habits, and in cases where treatment is only palliative a careful choice of words often brings about acceptance of the situation. Prophylactic geriatrics seeks to prevent, postpone, or prepare for the infirmities of old age. The family doctor can help both his youngest and his oldest patients by leading the family to appreciate their need of a recognized place in the community.