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Treat Me, Not My Age: A Doctor's Guide to Getting the Best Care as You or a Loved One Gets Older
by Mark Lachs, MD

Published by Viking (Penguin)

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We all age a different pace yet too often the health-care system defines us as a number or statistic instead of a living, breathing patient. Medical ageism can mean ailments go untreated -- or overtreated -- simply because we're "just getting older." This discrimination extends throughout the system, to hospitals, insurance companies, and nursing homes, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy: as symptoms cascade, the time we should be spending enjoying life is instead taken up with an endless series of doctor visits and hospital stays. And it doesn't have to be that way.

Treat Me, Not My Age is the essential handbook for navigating the health-care system as we get older. Never before has such a well-qualified author offered a more comprehensive guide to understanding and avoiding the medical pitfalls most likely to cause us harm. Mark Lachs, a renowned geriatrician in the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, has spent more than two decades working both with patients and in the trenches of medical administration. He has shepherded countless patients through difficult care decisions and helped them and their families make the best choices with a clear goal in mind: ensuring that the lives we lead are filled with as many healthy years as possible.

It starts with choosing a doctor who is right for you, and Dr. Lachs has much wisdom to offer on the topic. Aging well means planning ahead in every part of life, and here you'll learn how to manage prescriptions and why the hospital is no place for a sick person, as well as how to handle transitions between care facilities, plan for a financial future that fits the lifestyle you want, and outfit your house so that you can remain in it as long as possible. Whether you're a graying boomer or a concerned adult caring for an elderly relative, Dr. Lachs's good-humored advice can help shape a better, healthier future, and replace grief and confusion with clarity, optimism, and a sense of direction.

In a medical system that often seems designed to pigeonhole patients for the sake of convenience, we all need to be prepared to take action ahead of time to secure the care that's right for us. Advocating an active stance for both patients and their family members, Dr. Lachs will show you how to take control of your health-care choices -- and how to put yourself in the hands of doctors, specialists, and other health-care providers you can trust. Using the road-tested wisdom in Treat Me, Not My Age, you can spend as little time as necessary at the doctor and as much time as possible enjoying life.

pub date: 2010-09-16 | hardcover | 9780670022106