Social Gerontology: How important is it for medical students?

aaSebastian Zaidman, Labib Hussain, Jack Lilly D’Cruz and William Yee Seng Tai all graduated from King’s College London in Summer 2015. In this blog, they discuss their recent Age and Ageinarticle, co-authored with Professort Anthea Tinker of KCL’s Institute of Gerontology, on the importance of social gerontology.

During our pre-clinical teaching at medical school, the rapidly escalating rates of age-related pathologies, Alzheimer’s Disease in particular, were a regular feature in lectures and tutorials alike. However, it wasn’t until our first clinical placements that we realised that a biomedical perspective of ageing would not suffice: to fully understand older patients’ medical conditions and to discuss best management and care options would necessitate a holistic view beyond the realm of a biomedical paradigm.

It is for this reason that we decided to take a year out of our medical studies to enrol on the Intercalated BSc programme at King’s College London.

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Voice of the Elderly: Geriatrics in Uganda

Kamusiime Zadok is a social gerontologist and founder of Voice of the Elderly, a community based organization aiming to support older people in the Kabale district of Uganda. He is an expert in health and social policy for older people in Uganda, and the effects of ageism on the welfare of the elderly.shutterstock_129328802

As with any country, there are many older people in Uganda who are still active, healthy and independent. However, those who are frail, or in poor health, lack the social support structures available in the UK and are entirely dependent upon their families for support. This is coupled with limited treatment options for even simple conditions such as cataracts, an almost complete absence of monitoring for chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, and a lack of expertise in geriatric medicine the country.

Voices of the Elderly is a Ugandan Non-Governmental Organisation which aims to improve the state of the elderly in Kabale, South-West Uganda. Continue reading