Page 139 - Cityview Magazine - July/August 2017
P. 139

Successful baby boomers redefine aging.
boomers now approaching their
senior years just as the trajectory of our nation’s health care policy seems to be getting more confusing by the day. And reports tell us that we’re in for a massive shortage of general practice doctors. Yet, amid clouds of crisis, boomers appear to be thriving; they’re living longer, working longer, making (and spending) more money, staying active, and keeping up with the Joneses.
In Knoxville, the 50+ age group makes a $17.7 billion contribution to the economy, according to AARP. But before you buy shares of Depends and denture cream, look at the new definition of “old.” It's smart, active, empowered, and beautiful. Fashion, luxury cars, and even new technologies are ready to help older people, those with the most disposable income, redefine aging.
A Message of Hope and Empowerment / Suc- cessful Aging Brings New Services
Picture an assisted living facility packed with people of mixed ages, all eager to hear a geriatric medicine specialist talk about dementia and Alzheimer’s. Dr. Mon- ica Crane came to deliver a message of hope. She glows with passion and excite- ment. “If you’ve survived long enough to get a neurological disease, congratulations. You’ve already aged successfully.” Demen- tia and Alzheimer’s are on the national radar because we now survive the heart
attacks and strokes that used to kill us first. As Dr. Crane, the founder of Genesis Brain Health Institute, notes, “Everybody who has a brain is at risk.”
Genesis, a Knoxville-based practice focused on preventative maintenance of the brain, offers patients full-featured medical assessments, plus guidance on diet, exercise, stress management, and “brain utilization.” As the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it. And as your brain is, well, quite important, it’s no wonder many boomers are considering such services a good investment.
The Healthcare Sherpa
Pat Collins, owner of Maryville-based business Empowering Health Options, is part of a fledgling field across the country. Pat has become a Sherpa of sorts, guiding others along the paths of healthcare to keep them from getting lost along the way. She became a professional advocate after a career as a pharmacist and after caring for her mother whose kidney failure may have been a result of the painkiller, Vioxx.
In America, there are some 250 pri- vate patient advocates who help their clients navigate the medical system. They recommend treatment and diag- nostic options, find answers to unsolved health mysteries, and provide guidance for caregivers.
Patient advocates—such as Pat—help patients find the right specialists, pro- vide guidance on which are the right

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