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One Doctor’s Mission To Bring ‘Slow Medicine’ Approach To Caring For Aging Parents
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Aired 10/22/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Dr. Dennis McCullough, has been a family physician and geriatrician for 30 years. he's developed the concept of slow medicine and he's the author of the book, "My Mother, Your Mother"
Helen McNeal is the Executive Director of the California State University Institute for Palliative Care at Cal State San Marcos
Free Public Lectures
Slow Medicine: A Compassionate Approach For Caring For Our Elders
North County: Oct. 23, 2013 at 6 p.m at Cal State University San Marcos – Clarke Field House Reservations
La Jolla Oct. 24, 2013 at 6 p.m. at Scripps Memorial Hospital - Schaetzel Center, Great Hall
Reservations or call 1-800-SCRIPPS
Dr. Dennis McCullough's mission is to talk about elder care.
McCullough said he knew his was the right "voice" after decades as a geriatrician.
"When I realized that many of the older people I was caring for and their families weren't really able to tell their stories as time went by," he said.
When he became a caregiver for his own mother, he said he realized that while caring for the elderly as a physician he felt competent, as a son he was not very empowered.
In response, McCullough developed the concept of "slow medicine" and wrote a guidebook for older people and their families called "My Mother, Your Mother."
In 2012, 19 percent or more than 60 million Americans were 60 years of age or older. By 2050, that number is expected to rise to 26 percent, according to Global Age Watch. Within that population are millions of caregivers and their elderly parents for whom health care decisions are becoming more and more frequent.
The end of life for an elderly relative can be a crisis time for a family, but according to McCullough's approach to geriatric medicine, it doesn't have to be. Slow medicine is built around the idea of providing the right kind of care at the right time to older people and preparing to meet end-of-life decisions without panic.
McCullough said this method of "slow medicine" is meant to ease aging by rejecting the standard medical approach to make wiser medical decisions.
“This is not a plan for preparing for death," he said. "It is a plan for understanding, for caring, and for helping those you love live well during their final years."
McCullough will present his ideas during two free lectures in San Diego County this week about how we care for an aging population and the importance of a family centered approach to medicine.