excellent feedback from geriatric practitioners yesterday

Yesterday I spoke for the first time to an audience of medical practitioners at Weill Cornell Medical College/NY-Presbyterian Hospital Dept. of Geriatrics. It was in a beautiful conference room in the Gothic hulk of a building next to the East River where my daughter was born 28 years ago next week. I opened with an anecdote from a friend who brought his 83-year-old mother in to the family doctor for a check-up—she was in a wheelchair after a stroke—and when they came into his office the doctor said, “Are you still around?”


Claudia Fine, geriatric care manager: “When do we stop valuing people, and why?”

I took an instant liking to Claudia Fine, the Executive Vice President of SeniorBridge, a national organization that provides health and care management. We met in her midtown office, following up on a connection I’d made through a journalism seminar. She was warm, candid, and impatient with institutional dumbness.

Geriatrics: "an incredibly satisfying life"

At an afternoon session of this year’s Age Boom Academy for journalists there was a critical mass of geriatricians at the table: Robert Butler and Harrison Bloom, both of the International Longevity Institute (which co-sponsors the Academy along with the New York Times), and Rosanne Leipzig of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.  I took advantage of this to pop a question I’d written about a few weeks earlier: what makes geriatrics so satisfying?

The bias in the dictionary

Given my new tack, I thought it would be handy to understand the terms “geriatrics” and “gerontology” clearly. I knew that geriatricians were medical doctors, and Wikipedia puts the distinction clearly: “Geriatrics is a subspecialty of medicine that focuses on health care of the elderly. … The term geriatrics differs from gerontology, which is the study of the aging process itself.”   But check out the how Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 11th Ed., defines “geriatrics”