thumbnail of The challenge of aging; Meeting the challenge of aging
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The following program is produced by the University of Michigan broadcasting service under a grant and aid from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The challenge of aging today's program meeting the challenge of aging a program from the series human behavior social and medical research produced by the University of Michigan broadcasting service with special assistance from the National Health Council and the National Health Forum. These programs have been developed from interviews with men and women who have but too often unglamorous job of basic research. Research in medicine the physical sciences social sciences and the behavioral sciences vocational you will hear what may seem like strange or unfamiliar sounds. These are the sounds of the participants office his laboratory or his clinic where the interviews were first conducted. You were here today Dr. A.L.
Chapman. Assistant Surgeon General of the United States and chief of the Division of Public Health Services of the United States Public Health Department. My name is Glenn Phillips Dr. Chapman said. Aging is a challenge because we face an aging population with an ever increasing its And in so chronic illness and disability. My first question of Dr. Chapman was does it seem logical to assume that this is a problem that any organization or individual has a stake in he answered. I feel that every organization or agency or individual that deals with the problems that people will be dealing with the problems of aging only on a more intense scale with the possible exception of those few agencies that limit their activities to children. What do you feel about the group actions such as. Well a meeting
of this type the National Health Forum which is meeting Alte hotels in Miami Beach Florida for this annual convention. Can they offer a great many new findings. Contributing toward research to the whole area of gerontology and geriatrics. Yes there is absolutely no one solution to any of the problems of aging in America we have a saying what we want we can pay for and GAD but if we try to solve all of our problems by merely going out and paying money for other solutions the nation will go bankrupt what we've got to do is to coordinate the activities of many agencies the official agencies and non official agencies and we've got to use volunteers and whatever resources are available in state and local communities that we're gonna do this job right and do it well then the resources that are commonly available to our
society. Well certainly one of the largest groups that could prepare for action would be the religious groups. How may they meet the challenge of the aging. Well one of the religious groups are meeting the challenges by providing training up a town for members of the clergy to better understand the attitude and reactions of older people religious institutions are providing centers and recreational centers and daycare centers for all of people to meet and to find an outlet for their needs and some way to provide for their emotional needs. The two ways that religious groups have already made a substantial contribution to a solution to this problem of aging. We talk about the problem of aging and we talk about research. Is it one
of basic research or is it one of perhaps educating the public as to what the problems are and we have to advance on all three fronts at once. First of all we've got to apply more adequate lay the few things we know that we can do today to make the lives of the older person more comfortable and in the end make the only person more productive. Then in the second category we've got to increase the use of applied research to sharpen up the tools we using to improve our methods and techniques. And then finally the biggest is to commit more of our resources to basic research to find out what old people really need and what are their peculiar and characteristic needs as opposed to the needs of middle aged people and children. This has been a
problem which is barely been superficially approached up to date. Well this indicates one of research on the levels of sociology or psychology not particularly on the medical level doesn't it. On the medical level a great deal of money is now being spanned trying to find the basic causes of those diseases which afflict all people which have a much higher incidence and they all are age group where we need more information as rapidly as possible as in the social logical and economic aspects of the problem. In addition to a continuation of the biological research which is already underway but which needs supplementation. One thing that comes to mind immediately. Is the housing for the aged. This suggests to me anyway many approaches
of giving them a better emotional outlook on life how great a problem actually is this housing for the aged which we hear so much about. Well there are two phases of the problem one is the actual shortage of proper housing for older people and the other is our lack of knowledge consigning want type of housing should be built for older people in other words the increased urbanization of the population means the farm family is going and the City family is growing. And when you have a small apartment or a home in the city it's very hard to take care of all of people and they have few outlets for their energy and little to do. But we're not quite sure yet whether all the people should be isolated and set aside in housing developments whether a greater effort should be made to provide some form of housing for them with their families. Fortunately there are many
experiments in both areas that are being conducted throughout the country and as a result of this experimentation and the Making a few honest mistakes will eventually arrive at the proper course of action for the future. I recall reading on the plane the other night study which is being conducted in Palo Alto I believe it is in which the elder sisters that's the word are living with their families. But I have an outlet by going to a community unit such as a book club and they have assigned duties and responsibilities there. Is this a good person. This is a day care center approach and it's been very helpful many of the large cities have developed these types of centers. We're going to remember that only about 4 percent of people over 65 reside in institutions. The remainder either live in the homes of their children or are in
mourning houses and those that haven't got a good home to live and I have got to find someplace to go in the community where they can find expression in New York City at the heights and daycare center. They have a hot lunch which they prepare themselves at very low cost which provides as much as 50 percent of their daily nutritional requirements they're taught how to draw on whatever they want to do. This community organization tries to help them. How much research and if there is enough going on that you can have an indication as to what the results might be. What does the research show about the productive years beyond 65. Most of the research shows that old people do not age and otherwise you can't
generalize a 65 yard to rate tire because it is nonproductive. Many workers over 65 are better workers because they're more conscientious because they're more skilled because a more dependable. On the other hand uncertain and it's obviously impossible to continue on and working after is a certain age. As yet we haven't solved the problem of determining through medical examination. When a man has raised the point where you no longer can produce at a rate which is feasible economically or where it is dangerous dangerous for him to continue I think that this area of research to determine physiological age instead of chronic logical age well eventually give us at least a partial answer to this problem but generally speaking old people age a different rate and their product have a cannot be generalized on.
I have heard that even when given the opportunity to work beyond 65 a great percentage of the people choose to retire anyway. Now assuming that this is correct would there be adequate work opportunities for these people if they chose to continue. Well according to the most recent statistics our economic increase our production increases at such a rapid pace that have an instant continue we're going to need another 10 million workers in the next time 15 years. Many of these are coming from a female group. But this is not adequate to supply the entire need. Therefore it's obvious that if our national production increase is going to continue we'll have to find ways of bringing him back into the productive market. Many people who are over 65 either.
We met in the research work going on. Could you just do numerate some of the findings. If it's possible the research on all the people is rather megger in the attitudinal sense we have conflicting reports. Some say that people don't want to retire and they're forced to retire and has a bad effect on them. And then we get another report that says that the majority of all people really don't want to continue to work and are going to have to retire I think that this is an area which needs clarification through good basic scientific research and as yet we have only suggested findings. However we've been talking now or rather you have been talking about those people who have reached the age past 65 or old age whichever who are still capable of carrying on a productive life.
There is still the other side of the coin. The chronically ill invalids who must be taken care of are there adequate medical services for these people. The problem there are a number of old people is increasing amount of illness which they have naturally is increasing the number of doctors is not keeping pace with the population expansion. Now these older people not only have more Elma's the illness as I have last longer there are very clear statistics which show that only people go to the doctor more often require more periods of hospitalization. These periods of hospitalization are much longer than characteristic of younger age groups. Now one of the way that this can be shortened is to provide early rehabilitation services and other words early ambulation in the old days when a person got a stroke. They lay in bed
for weeks during which time contraction closes when a car that can never be reversed a day that has a very strong tan and say treat stroke patients a day after they have their stroke. They give them exercises which will prevent the ankle osis and prevent the contractures and gallant hospital in the district Cami of the average hospital stay for the stroke patients only about 40 days back and that they're then able to take care of themselves or actually go back to work. You mentioned in the early part of your answer about. The older person goes to the physician more than someone younger. I recall a study which I read about in New York City one of the social workers stated after having seen the continual flow of the older person people. She made a statement to the effect that
there really wasn't anything wrong with them. They just didn't have anywhere to go. And from this statement there arose a. Center at the center in which the people could go and find outlets for themselves. And after a five year study watching what was going on the visits of the people went dark at a very steady rate and it was something like I think 75 percent of the people stopped going to the social workers office. Now is this just an isolated case or has this any validity for. True meaning. Well there's evidence that indicates people have something that in which they're interested they will take their minds off a little pouty and my answers aches and pains. This quite common in older people.
They will go to the medical clinics or the doctor less frequently. On the other hand we can forget the statistics and I know that these older people are fertile ground for the chronic illness and therefore they should be checked regularly and Perry Ironically even though they aren't in order to pick up these illnesses while the illnesses are in their asymptomatic phase so they can be treated early before complications occur which disable a diabetic for example my right eye a blood sugar for as long as 10 years and not have any symptoms. There was a name of the doctor when I if he's found with his high blood sugar before the symptoms occur can be treated either by diet or are by diet and then so on and may post calmly onset of complications for as long as another 10 years are of you letting go until they is picked up and diabetic coma is very difficult to control the disease. You may have gang in his legs he may lose his vision
and then somebody meaning society has got to pay the bill for that. You have mentioned at least three occasions where we've been sitting here people must be prepared for preventive living. I'll let you explain exactly what you mean by well as male a term that's a car and until I make a the fact that the best time to prevent illness and all array is during the middle years of a life all of it is if we look at our ancestors will be able to identify a weak link in our chain of a life. Some people have ancestors that had stomach trouble and others that had hypertension others had a heart to heart disease. All of us have a weak link and everyone recognizes winkling so early I live moderately. That is not too much not drink too much not smoke to much get ample rest and relaxation just commonsense living. Cut
down on a lot of the complications that follow in moderate living and this requires self-discipline. It requires knowledge and I require as little common sense but it is a best method of treating diseases before they occur. That I now our knowledge indicates immediately not anything to do with research basic research or anything but sheer education of the public. Exactly how do you go about that. There's been a great deal of education in all types of media about the evils of obesity that any individual should know if they don't already know. Carrying around 50 pounds of fat is just the same as having a 5 day tumor 5.0 Levinas 50 pounds of excess weight as much. Harm to the heart as having a leaking valve. This seems to
me to be a serious medical condition. The problem there for research is to find out how to motivate people. Don't want to lose weight. The fact they need to lose weight is quite common knowledge but the ability to say no to their appetite is something that is very difficult for most people. There are ways and means of doing it but as yet we haven't spent much money or much time in doing research on motivational studies. The same thing's true on being moderate in our drinking being moderate and our smoking as in it's one thing to say don't smoke and there's another thing to stop smoking and I think that a great deal of research should and will be done on the psychological frond to find out just why people do do these things to excess and what the Muslims are that will be rewarding in getting masses of PayPal to become more
moderate and those particular habits which can contribute years old age one of state of mind or is it actually a state of the physical being. Thing is a combination of both obviously if a man has led a sedentary life as an exercise and hasn't participated in society hasn't given much to life he gets very little out of it. You may be both physically and spiritually bankrupt. On the other hand there are those who are quite well physically just conjured up the idea that their role in their time is set in for them that they all and they just sit down and act all I think it's a combination of both and both of which can be combated one is a physical condition which can be combated magically in the other as a matter of situation which has to be combatted through education and through the proper use of psychology.
There was another problem however which we touched on a moment ago but didn't really follow it up and that is the financing of some of the chronically ill we invalids and some of the care housing care of some of these people. How is this going to be accomplished. Well obviously this is quite a political. At the present time trying to determine how much more of our national production should be committed to assess the aging and where this particular money should come from. As one hopeful point of view on that whether our present increased national production that is anticipated in the next 20 years as our national production will increase tremendously that of all of us live as well as
well living our income at and only a small fraction of the increase over the next 20 years to better care for all of people. All the people would receive a tremendous boost in physical and medical social support. I know you and I wouldn't be hard one whit. So I think that if our Prez and I can now make up turn continues as predicted for another 10 years they'll be ample resources to finance any reasonable increase and care of the aging and you can define Karen any way you wish. I may ask you this Dr. Chapman Why is it that all of a sudden it seems. Ageing has received such widespread attention. Well there are several reasons for want of cars as a fact that they aged as such a fertile ground for the chronic illnesses. And we're faced with the need for increased hospital
medical care. The other reason is purely mathematical Razan and I know that if we were soon to have 20 million people always 65 they will create quite a bloc of votes which will influence politics. And after all as they do influence politics which determines who gets what percentage of the national production. I would judge then from those remarks that the future for the age. Population is rather good from the standpoint of the older people I think that it was never better. Do you think that the whole problem of study research deserves world action or should it just stay on the local or national level. Well every nation has a different problem. Many of the nations have
problems which are more related to the problems our country faced in the late 19th eighteen hundreds or early part of this century the infectious disease tuberculosis and even malaria and leper say in other nations such as Norway and Sweden in the low countries and they're facing the same problem we are in in many ways a pioneer and more aggressively than we had in trying to find better ways of caring for the aged and we've learned many lessons from the care of the aged in England and Sweden and Norway and Denmark and I too have learned many lessons from us. And one other statement was made at one of the speeches at the convention was made by Dr Symonds from Columbia University in which he said the problem is one in which the young and the strong must learn to cooperate with the old in the feeble. These are his. This is his quote. So does this have great validity do you think.
Well as you remember he said that the young are the arms and legs of the aged. Meaning that as we go through life we acquire experience knowledge and wisdom and at the same time have a decreased ability and we are late so that if this wisdom is lost by early retirement because young people don't respect older people and go to them for advice in the bar from their wisdom will deprive our nation of some of their most important lessons I've learned in the last 50 years. I want to ask one other question and that is about the psychiatric care of the older person. Is this any different actually than what the medical care would be the biggest problem there is that problem of housing all of PayPal is a great temptation to consider an older person who is beginning to get a
little sclerosis of the brain and acts a little different than other people to label them as mental patients when actually they're not mental patients a taller Marilee all people with a low normal physiological brain damage and this is a tremendous injustice to all people. There are old people who are absolutely dangerous to set fires and might burn a home they have to be placed in an institution where they won't be able to harm people. But in our mental institutions and many many old people who were there for no better reason that they're all in there is not a better place to put them. I know you said you didn't wish to speak to the Great Lakes about this next question but from the particular position which you find yourself would you comment briefly on it and that is what the government's role might be in the entire research and development of this
field. Well when you say mind we think in terms of federal state and local I can only speak for the public health service a public health service has a role of backing up state level house departments and there are times to develop programs of the people want. And we do that through conducting research through all pioneering experiments through demonstrating techniques been productive in one state and demonstrating them in other states through holding seminars and conferences whereby they now age and that is developed through local experimentation to be passed on to other areas. Now on the other end of the Social Security system of course is contributing financially a great deal to the aged. When you realize a six out of time people over 65 a day are getting all the survivor's insurance benefits and they also vocational rehabilitation is rehabilitating hundreds of thousands
of people who have lost their ability to take care of themselves or their ability to get a job because of some fracture or amputation or a stroke or some other physical disability. So almost every federal agency is in some way or other contributing to the welfare of the older person. Our thanks to Dr. A.L. Chapman who was assistant surgeon general of the United States and chief of the Division of Public Health Services of the United States Public Health Service for his participation on this program. Meeting the challenge of aging. Next week you will hear Dr. Leo W. Symons executive director of the Institute of Research and service in nursing education of teachers college of Columbia University in New York City as he discusses the changing attitudes toward aging. On the next program from the series
human behavior social and medical research. We extend our special thanks to the National Health Council and the National Health Forum for their assistance plan Phillips speaking asking that you join us next week and thanking you for being with us at this time. This program has been produced by the University of Michigan broadcasting service under a grant in aid from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the NEA E.B. Radio Network.
The challenge of aging
Meeting the challenge of aging
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-t14tp503).
Episode Description
This program features an interview with A.L. Chapman, MD, Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service, Washington, D.C.
Series Description
Part of a WUOM series on human behavior, this series seeks to explore the challenges facing the aged.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Host: Hentoff, Nat
Interviewee: Chapman, A.L.
Producer: Phillips, Glen
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-28-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:44
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The challenge of aging; Meeting the challenge of aging,” 1961-04-07, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 26, 2024,
MLA: “The challenge of aging; Meeting the challenge of aging.” 1961-04-07. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 26, 2024. <>.
APA: The challenge of aging; Meeting the challenge of aging. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from