The discipline of geriatric medicine has evolved over the past two decades to address the challenges presented by our aging community. Currently, 13% of the population is over the age of 65 years, and this number will nearly double in the next quarter century. In fact, the fastest growing segment of our population is the oldest-old, those over the age of 85 years. People are living longer and the post-war baby boom has resulted in a shift from the previously normal age pyramid to one that looks a bit top-heavy.
Older people have more medical problems, frequently carry the diagnosis of one or more chronic illness and are often receiving a number of prescription drugs from both primary care physicians and consultants. In addition, there are psychological, social and economic issues that influence quality of life in a major way. The integration of these issues into one treatment program is the foundation for the geriatric medicine approach. From research conducted over the past quarter century, we have learned that the traditional medical model falls short of providing effective, comprehensive care for many in this age group, particularly the frail elderly. Geriatric medicine implies an interdisciplinary approach that has, as its goal, satisfying the two most commonly verbalized personal desires of old people, to maintain physical function and independence.
In several of the country’s leading medical schools, a multidisciplinary approach has been shown to succeed at keeping older people at home (out of nursing homes), with more streamlined medications and treatments, enrollment in appropriate community agencies, and a safer home environment. Furthermore, this can be accomplished with cost savings, inasmuch as diseases are prevented and hospitalizations and nursing home admissions are reduced. Unfortunately, there has not been an application of this approach in the private sector. IASIA, with its dominant goal to develop The IASIA Clinical Center, presents the first of its kind, community-based, multidisciplinary and comprehensive geriatrics clinical and research program. From this site IASIA will coordinate a novel comprensive health care program while continuing our active research agenda and educational programs.