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Chapter 34. The Past and Future of Geriatric Psychiatry

Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D.; David C. Steffens, M.D., M.H.S.
DOI: 10.1176/appi.books.9781585623754.400050

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The relatively recent emergence of geriatric psychiatry in North America is based on two centuries of interest and work by both Americans and non-Americans. For example, Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) maintained a strong belief that science would eventually discover the aging process, control it, and be able to rejuvenate people. He apparently was convinced that if the patriarchs of the antediluvian era, described in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), could achieve extended life spans, so could the human of the future. It appears that Franklin was a man who both talked the talk and tried to walk the walk. Many of his most lasting historical contributions came after his 70th year, most notably his service in Europe during the Revolutionary War and subsequent reconstruction of the United States, the negotiation of the peace treaty with Great Britain, and, upon his return from Europe, his role as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Two of his inventions have contributed to the well-being of elderly persons: the Franklin stove and bifocal eyeglasses (Gruman 1966).

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Geriatric psychiatry faces special problems in obtaining referrals. Which is an example of one of these problems?
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What is the major difficulty facing geriatric psychiatry fellowship training programs?
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You admit one of your geriatric patients, who is covered by Medicare, to an inpatient psychiatric unit in the general hospital where you have admission privileges. The spouse asks you what Medicare will cover in terms of expenses. Which of the following is correct?
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