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Published November 05, 2011, 11:30 PM

'Treat Me, Not My Age" is a gem

Dear Readers: The book “Treat Me, Not My Age,” by Mark Lachs, M.D. is now out in paperback under the title “What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Growing Older: An Insider’s Survival Manual For Outsmarting the Heath-Care System.” Regardless of the title change – personally I preferred the original title – this book is a gem.

By: Carol Bradley Bursack, INFORUM

Dear Readers: The book “Treat Me, Not My Age,” by Mark Lachs, M.D. is now out in paperback under the title “What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Growing Older: An Insider’s Survival Manual For Outsmarting the Heath-Care System.” Regardless of the title change – personally I preferred the original title – this book is a gem.

Lachs is the director of Cornell’s Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care, director of geriatrics for the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Weill Medical College, and the Irene F. and I. Roy Psaty Distinguished Professor of Clinical Medicine.

Why did I provide such detailed information about Lachs’ credentials? Because if you go by the paperback title, you may think the book is written for shock value rather than what it is, an in-depth look at how we can learn to better navigate our health care system. Because, while laugh-out-loud funny at times, this book makes a wonderful, handy reference guide for getting the most from our health care system, especially for the aging adult.

In chapter one, titled, “You’re a what?”, Lachs says that many professionals in other medical specialties don’t understand why a physician would choose to concentrate in an area where curing the patient is often not possible and where financial compensation is generally at the lower end of the spectrum. Lachs points out that our society needs an infusion of geriatricians and work needs to be done to secure these doctors for our aging population.

Lachs’ book helps readers understand the biology of aging. In “A Geriatrician’s Perspective on Ageism: It’s Not Just About Grandpa Who’s Being Put Out to Pasture,” he talks about the ageism saturating our culture and how it permeates the practice of medicine, as well.

Lachs also writes at length about the maze our health care system has become and where a patient’s rights and best interests can be lost in the layers of bureaucracy. His chapter titled “Care Transitions as We Get Older: Cracks You Didn’t Even Know You Could Fall Through,” is packed with practical tips and ideas that can help people stay in their homes for as long as possible, if that is their choice.

For down-to-earth reading on getting the best care out of our medical system, I strongly suggest this book, hardbound or paperback. You’ll get your money’s worth in chuckles, and Lachs offers great insight and education to boost your ability to navigate the health care maze.

Inforum searchword: Carol Bradley Bursack


Carol Bradley Bursack is the author of a support book on caregiving and runs a website supporting caregivers at www.mindingourelders.com.

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