Dr. Theresa Redling On Alzheimer's and Geratric Illnesses
Steve Adubato talks to the Medical Director of Geriatric Health and Disease Management at St. Barnabas Medical Center, Dr. Theresa Redling, about the most common illnesses affecting individuals over the age of 65. This discussion covers Alzheimer’s and the toll it can take on families.
"We are pleased to be joined by Doctor Theresa Redling who is Medical Director, Geriatric Health and Disease management at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, and also connected to the Felician Institute of Gerontology. Good to see you doctor. Thank you. Fully disclose here, as we are doing this program, you have worked with our family and as we do this program, have treated my dad for a long period of time and many many others who have dealt with serious illness after the age of 65. 65 Is that the official age? Not really. I do sadly have some patients that are younger because they have a condition that usually older adults have like Alzheimers disease. Yeah. People confuse between Dementia, Alzheimers, connect that for us? Sure. So, it's kind of like saying "I have cancer" and someone will say "what type?". It's the same thing. I have a Dementia, or someone has Dementia, you ask what type. So, Dementia is the umbrella term and Alzheimers is one type. Lewy Body Dementia, Vascular Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia. Right, right. So, this field of Gerontology growing exponentially? It should be. What do you mean by that? Well, there's a very small percentage of us that are actually trained to take care of older adults. Because? Maybe it's not... I mean, the need's there. Absolutely. In medicine, it's something less than 1% of people are fellowship trained internists in Geriatric medicine, so... It's not a sexy field. Why do you say that? Well, I teach. I teach medical students and medical residents, and it doesn't seem that it's something that they're drawn to. They may like a sexier field like plastic surgery or dermatology and geriatrics doesn't seem to be a sexy field although when you really start doing geriatrics, it's really a wonderful thing. I mean, the amount of gratification that you get out of taking care of an older adult the right way and you can't do it yourself. It takes a whole team. Who's on the team. What kinds of people. What kind of expertise. Besides the physician, a geriatrician, social worker, nursing, advanced practice nurses, physical therapist, occupational therapists, pharmacists, it really takes a village to do it the right way. Which are you Doctor? I mean I've had so many conversations with you online, offline, with my family, without. I saw when I was in medical school that if you make a small change in an older persons life, it can make a huge difference in the quality of their life. So, for example, someone that can't get to the toilet Mmm. So they may be incontinent and they're completely dependent on a caregiver..."