Quality time and opportunities for aging seniors

August 25, 2011

The demand for ancillary services that combat the signs of aging has exploded with the aging of the American population.

Key Points

The demand for ancillary services that combat the signs of aging has exploded with the aging of the American population. With 31% of the U.S. population now over age 50, according to the 2010 U.S. census, the market for procedures and products that preserve or recreate a youthful appearance, enhance mental acuity, reduce weight, and restore strength and vitality is greater than ever.

In addition, the epidemic of obesity and the national call to healthier habits through Healthy People 2020 and other initiatives have increased awareness of the importance of good diet and regular exercise, two pillars of age management medicine (AMM).

Physicians catering to this market may call their services rejuvenating, regenerative, age management, functional, lifestyle, metabolic, or anti-aging medicine. While the emphasis of each practice differs based on the interests of the physician, in general, this ancillary service combines weight management, fitness, stress reduction, cosmetic procedures, and, in some practices, hormone supplementation.

To learn about age management services (AMS), you have several options. You can take "a la carte" continuing medical education (CME) programs in weight management or bariatric medicine, exercise physiology, dermatologic procedures, and sometimes endocrinology through traditional CME providers.

You may take courses through the American College of Preventive Medicine or the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), a controversial advocate for hormone therapy, also offers many courses. Alternatively, you may receive training ranging from 3 days to 3 months through nutritional supplement vendors and anti-aging marketing companies.

Others like the focus on prevention or being "upstream" from the diseases they often see as a consequence of poor lifestyle choices. Steinmetz Medical Associates of Alexandria, Virginia, describes their therapeutic lifestyle program as enabling "patients to live their life in a way that helps improve health and prevent disease," while also treating diseases associated with aging and obesity.