Turkish Journal of Geriatrics 2003 , Vol 6, Issue 1
GENERAL APPROACH TO THE GERIATRIC PATIENTS IN PRIMARY CARE
Yeşim UNCU, Alis ÖZÇAKIR
Uludağ Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Aile Hekimliği Anabilim Dalı, Bursa Today one out of every 10 people is considered elderly, i.e over 65 years old, and elderly population has increased by %6,3 within the last 30 years. In 1980, vhile the population over 65 years was around 260 millions, the ratio of the elderly people to the overall population was 5,8%. Whereas in the year 2000, the elderly population has reached to almost 400 million while the ratio of elderly people to the overall population has become %6,4. A similar increase was observed in Turkey too, and elderly population is being predicted to be 2-3 times larger in the forthcoming 30 years. Considering the varying aging characteristics of our population, the medical care for the elderly people becomes very important while designating the health-related targets and the necessities towards the future. Advanced ages is a life period with its unique properties just like childhood. Chronic and degenerative diseases are the major health problems faced in the elder ages. Cardiovascular diseases and cancer in elderly people are the major reasons of their morbidity and mortality rates. Such diseases require continuous care and multi-aspect approach. The problems of elder ages usually do not appear by the expected scenes, they are usually metabolic, more than one disease can happen at the same time and therapy approaches can be various. Thus the approach in treating elderly patients should be different from other patients. Geriatric patients require a multi-disciplinary and integrated approach covering medical, social, psychological and ethical items. We believe that achieving the target of “Healthy Aging Worldwide” proposed by the World Health Organisation also for Turkey can be possible only by giving the required importance and priority to the elderly population in the first line of health services and by continuing and improving the related studies. Keywords : Geriatric patients, primary care, general approach