Episode 191 Elderhood: Redefining Aging with Louise Aronson

Dr. Louise Aronson has been a geriatric physician for over forty years. In her book “Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining life”, she is challenging our social and medical conceptions on aging. Discussing how “old” is not a diagnosis, and living a full life is part of aging, this interview is important for anyone who realizes our perceptions needs to change.

Louise Aronson, MD, is the author of the story collection A History of the Present Illness and a geriatrician, educator, and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she directs UCSF Medical Humanities. A graduate of Harvard Medical School and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, Dr. Aronson has received numerous awards for her medical work, teaching, educational research, and writing. She is the recipient of a MacDowell fellowship and four Pushcart nominations for her fiction, and her articles and stories have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, and Bellevue Literary Review. She lives in San Francisco.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • What inspired you to write this book?
    • What questions about health matter as we age?
    • How can we live a meaningful life to the fullest?
    • What do you mean by Elderhood?
    • As a medical doctor, how have you seen geriatric care treated in the system?
    • How have geriatric doctors been treated/regarded in the system?
    • Is there a thought pattern surrounding the aging that they may not be worth our time?
    • Do you think aging is a disease?
    • How do you feel about comments made to patients like “you have those symptoms because you are old.”
    • Are there different ways to approach care and medication with patients who are older?
    • How much attention is given to this in school/medical training?
    • How is end of life planning approached now, and do you think it should be changed?
    • How can we tell that we or a family member is getting appropriate care?
    • How do you envision age friendly health care?
    • How can someone get ahold of you/website/book?

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