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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: December 2009

Chapter 2 - Preventive health care for older women

from Section 1 - Introduction

Summary

Prevention for the older person includes maintaining quality of life, preserving function, preventing collapse of family support systems, and maintaining independence in the community. Older women often have substantial responsibilities caring for spouses, siblings, children, and grandchildren. Significant levels of depression are seen in caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. Women access the health care system more frequently than do men. They receive more health services and prescriptions, undergo more examinations, laboratory tests, and blood pressure checks than men. Depression is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness in older adults in the primary care setting, although it often goes unnoticed. Abuse is best correlated with the emotional and financial dependence of the caregivers on the geriatric victims. By attending to the differing risk factors of older women and following a systematic periodic evaluation, physicians can assist older women in maintaining their health and functional status.

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