2014 Canadian Magazine from U of T Medicine  – Super Seniors

2014 Canadian Magazine from U of T Medicine – Super Seniors

Posté le août 2, 2014 par Ressources Soins Aînés Québec en Bénévolat, Blog - English, Centre pour Ainés, Communauté de retraités, Droit des aînés, Éducation, Éducation aux Aidants, Personne Autonome

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Message From the Dean: Aging with Grace and in Good Health

Cathy Whiteside

He did not practise medicine or do research, but Teddy Roosevelt was a keen observer of human nature. He once said: “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” Today, medical research agrees with him.

It’s increasingly clear from the data that social determinants of health, activity levels, diet and a host of exposures in our youth have a tremendous impact on not only the duration of our lives but also the quality of our lives as we age. The factthat Canada’s population is increasingly composed of an aging population is an important public health policy challenge.

Recently, the baby-boom cohort reached its 65th birthday — and the number of seniors in Canada is growing faster than ever. According to Statistics Canada, the population of seniors increases at an average annual rate of 4.2 per cent — up from 2.8 per cent five years ago. Chances are if you are not in this cohort yourself, you are close to someone who is.

In this issue of our U of T Medicine magazine, you will read about the advances in improving the health and quality of life of our seniors — but you will also read about some of the challenges facing seniors and their families — including tough decisions that need to be made at the end of life. You will read about the complex disorders affecting seniors, and how integrated models of care and collaborative methods of research are helping to unlock potential treatments for conditions like Alzheimer’s and related dementias. You will also find suggestions from our own faculty members on how to age well while you are still young.

As we near the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, issues of end-of-life and palliative care, and the management of complex diseases will loom larger and challenge our current health policies. According to the recently published Ontario’s Seniors Strategy led by Dr. Samir Sinha: “We know that older adults in general — and those with complex issues in particular — drive health care costs as they tend to use more expensive and intensive types of services, particularly in acute care settings. Indeed, while accounting for only 14.6 per cent of our current population, nearly half of our health care spending occurs on their behalf.”

Treating our patients with the grace and dignity they deserve is one way we can make a real, positive impact as caregivers. Addressing the health challenges of aging through innovation in research and education is our social responsibility.

Catharine Whiteside BSc ’72, MD ’75, PhD ’84
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Vice-Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions