Aging. It happens to everybody.

Len and Cliff

Len and Cliff

Aging. It happens to everybody. Kids want to speed it up; adults want to slow it down. And if a person is fortunate enough to age a long time, old age creates challenges. Aging brings challenges not only for the older adult, but often for those who love them. It can be hard to find satisfying answers to questions related to making the tough choices when dealing with age-related challenges. In “Age Smart”, two local experts on aging, one a social worker-gerontologist and the other a physician-geriatrician, will answer your questions on aging and old age, helping you make smarter choices in matters related to growing older.

We’re Dr. Len Kaye, Director of the Center on Aging and Professor of Social Work at the University of Maine and Dr. Cliff Singer, Chief of Geriatric Mental Health and Neuropsychiatry at Acadia Hospital and Eastern Maine Medical Center. We invite you to submit questions on all aspects of growing older. Questions on health, mental health and depression, memory problems and dementia, medications, family and caregiver issues, social and personal relationships, housing choices, and maintaining independence and vitality for as long as possible. We don’t presume to have all the answers, but when we don’t know something, we’ll use our national (and international) contacts to find answers. We will make a special effort to tell you about helpful resources available to you right here in Maine. We won’t always agree with each other, but then you’ll understand that there may not be one right answer to your question and you’ll have different points of view to help with your decision-making.

We won’t be able to answer all questions. We can’t provide specific medical or legal advice for your unique circumstances, but may be able to give you some guidance and suggestions where to go to get help. We’ll be responding to questions that are likely to have broad interest to readers. We expect to be able to respond to your questions in ways that will be helpful to you and your family, to the professionals that you rely on and to the general readership, many of whom will be struggling with similar issues. Our hope is that this column will help you make sense of the cascades of information available on healthy aging, often with contradictory findings and advice. And we hope we can steer you in the right direction when you feel stuck, not knowing who to believe or where to turn for help in making difficult decisions.

Yours’ in healthy aging, Len and Cliff