Geriatrics is a large and largely neglected area for the practice of and study of primary general internal medicine. Although about 10% of our population is 65 years of age or older (according to the 1970 census), very little attention has been given to the health needs of this group. This is all the more striking since virtually all of us hope to become members of that consumer group, and thus out of self-interest alone we should show some concern for it! Furthermore, it is unquestionably true that, person for person, this fraction of the nation requires considerably more medical care than the other 90% of the population.1 Why has geriatrics been neglected?
One reason is the prejudice against the elderly in our society, which is youth-oriented and acute-oriented. Although some would deny it, this same prejudice probably exists in medical institutions as well. One need only look at