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October 26, 1984


JAMA. 1984;252(16):2209-2213. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350160077023

Comparatively recently, health care providers in the United States have had to recognize that medical care for the nation's elderly, although an obligation great in scope and cost, does not fit easily into our established patterns of providing medical services. That the field of geriatric medicine needs clear definition is one facet of the ongoing controversies about who should look after old people, as well as how and where that function can best be carried out.

Anyone who reads current articles in this field is likely to become somewhat bored by the sameness of the introductory paragraphs. Authors feel required to repeat well-known figures about the changing age of the population. American articles open by saying that in the United States more than 11% of the population is over the age of 65 years, and that the fastest growing segment of the entire population is the over-85s. This is followed