Hope I Die Before I Get Old?

Thursday, 01 November 2012

From 1900 to 2100

Trust, Myth and the Ageing Population.

Dr Martin Wilson - Consultant Geriatrician, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness


he Society met on 1st November 2012 in the Society Hall, Foresterhill

The President, Dr Ken McHardy presided.

Dr McHardy presented the Strachan Bursary cheque and certificate to Miss Siew Lynn Yew.

The talk "Hope I die before I get old? Truth, Myth and the Ageing Population" was given by Dr Martin Wilson, consultant geriatrician, Inverness.

Dr Wilson's talk was in 4 parts: - Words and Meanings; descriptions of 3 clinical cases; strategies (both present and future) and some myths.

He pointed out that the increase in the elderly population is largely a good thing and that what is 'normal for age' has changed with many people being fit and active until a much older age than previously, so most people are going to live for more years than they expected and therefore we should not acquiesce to age stereotypes.

Living in a rural area increases life expectancy, as does wealth, with alcohol being a major avoidable cause of neurological problems and depression being a common treatable condition.

Dr Wilson's three clinical scenarios illustrated cases who were previously fit; who had previous illnesses causing decreased ability to cope and thirdly who were frail with high dependency. He emphasized the importance of avoiding drug therapy unless clearly indicated and of avoiding multiple drugs especially if they offer little short term advantage. Community care is important and must be adequate to cope with the person's needs even when these needs increase. He compared hospices (high public profile, well regarded) with care homes (poor image, very poorly paid staff) although they deal with a largely similar population.

Dr Wilson concluded his entertaining and thought provoking talk with a plea for more resourses to be put into social care of the elderly rather than expensive medical therapies with benefit to few people.

There were many questions before the President thanked Dr Wilson for his talk.

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