What's the Right Thing to do for Aging Parents? Ithaca College Gerontology Institute Conference will Address New Approaches to Geriatric Care

ITHACA, NY — Advances in medicine and science have added years to life, but at what cost?

“Although long life can be a benefit, it may also bring a complex mix of multiple chronic conditions, disability and frailty,” said Dennis McCullough, M.D., longtime family physician, associate professor of community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, and the keynote speaker at this year’s Ithaca College Gerontology Institute Conference. “Our U.S. health care system, which helps many people to live to a ripe old age, does not necessarily serve those elders with complex health situations well. However, promising new approaches to chronic disease treatment and management, and to geriatric care in general, are being developed and implemented across the nation.”

These new approaches will be the primary focus of “Dignity, Compassion and Choice,” the Gerontology Institute’s conference to be held Thursday, Sept. 30 in the Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall. Dr. McCullough will deliver the keynote address, “Fast Medicine/Slow Medicine: Re-Balancing Eldercare.” An “in the trenches” family physician and geriatrician who has spent his life helping families cope with their parents’ aging and eventual final passage, he is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. In his recent book “My Mother, Your Mother: Embracing ‘Slow Medicine,’” he shares the experiences he faced with his own aging mother.

In that book, Dr. McCullough writes, “Shaped by common sense and kindness, grounded in traditional medicine yet receptive to alternative therapies, ‘slow medicine’ is a measured treatment of ‘less is more’ that improves the quality of patients’ extended late lives without bankrupting their families financially or emotionally.”

Seven expert presenters will join Dr. McCullough in discussing the changing culture of care for those with dementia, the importance of a multi-disciplinary team approach to geriatric assessment, model programs to improve eldercare in a hospital setting, a tool for assisting elders through the decision making process as they approach end of life and a program to educate elders to self-manage chronic disease.

The presenters will be:
G. Allen Power, M.D., Eden Mentor at St. John’s Home in Rochester and clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester

Thomas Caprio, M.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Aging at the University of Rochester and associate medical director for the Visiting Nurse Service Hospice of Rochester

Debra Fromm Faria, LCSW, director of field education for the College at Brockport Social Work Department’s undergraduate and GRC MSW programs and codirector of the Center for Excellence in Gerontological Social Work at the College at Brockport

Lisa A. Ferretti, LMSW, a public service professor and codirector of the Center for Excellence in Aging and Community Wellness at the University at Albany School of Social Welfare

Christy Bond, MS, FACHE, a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and a board certified hospital administrator

Jim Hayes, M.D., medical director for United Health Services in Binghamton, board certified head and neck cancer surgeon, associate professor of surgery at Upstate Medical University and an ordained Presbyterian minister

Nancy Frank, LCSWR-G, certified by the National Association of Social Work in advanced clinical social work in gerontology, hospice and palliative care, and director of youth services at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton

The conference will be attended by health care professionals and paraprofessionals in both acute care and long-term care settings, allied health and nursing faculty and students, family caregivers, elders and anyone who plans on becoming an elder.

For more information visit www.edu/agingconference or contact Marilyn Kinner, outreach program coordinator, at (607) 274-1967.

The conference is sponsored by AETNA, Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center, Kendal at Ithaca, Brookdale Senior Living and Walden Place.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Kinner as much in advance of the conference as possible.

Dennis McCullough, M.D.