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

Mark Lachs, MD

Viking (Penguin),  September 2010

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.

hardcover | ISBN: 9780670022106 | Publication Date: September 2010

"Mark Lachs starts the conversation that most of us are taught not to talk about: What do we do when we, or someone close to us, become older? So many of the resources about this subject are bewilderingly specialized and often confusing, but Dr. Lachs brings all the various elements together, offering guidance and suggestions about all aspects of health and aging. What I loved about this book is how much it feels as if you're having a conversation with a trusted friends who is also incredibly knowledgeable about what to do when advancing years are upon you. Treat Me, Not My Age bridges the gap between confusion and clarity about this inevitable part of our lives. I only wish he'd written it sooner!"
--Nell Newman, president and cofounder, Newman's Own Organic

"Finally, one of the most highly regarded experts in our field helps the reader make sense of the increasingly complex health-care landscape for boomers and beyond. Most books about aging these days are about exactly the opposite: never getting old. Lachs assumes the reader is much smarter than that, and as a doctor and a scientist gives highly prescriptive advice on how to navigate broken and confusing systems that impact how we age."
--Robert N. Butler, founding director, National Institute on Aging; president, International Longevity Center

"Getting older is sometimes not for the faint of heart! Finally, an upbeat yet responsible book about aging from a brilliant gerontologist and scientist. And it's a fun and well-written book to boot!"
--William Goldman, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men