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Office-based assessment of the older adult

David B Reuben, MD
Susan D Leonard, MD
Section Editor
Kenneth E Schmader, MD
Deputy Editor
Daniel J Sullivan, MD, MPH


Today's individuals are living longer compared to prior generations. The goals for most older persons are to survive and thrive, although usually with medical conditions and impairments in their abilities to perform physical and social tasks, commonly referred to as functional status.

This topic will discuss an approach to assessment of the older adult being seen in the generalist's office, including the domains of assessment and a practical approach to performing the assessment. The more formal interdisciplinary comprehensive geriatric assessment, appropriate for selected patients with specific geriatric concerns, an approach to health maintenance in the geriatric population, and management of multiple morbidity in older adults are discussed separately. (See "Comprehensive geriatric assessment" and "Geriatric health maintenance" and "Managing multiple comorbidities".)


Geriatric assessment recognizes the multidimensionality of contributors to health and function and can provide key diagnostic insights into the health of the older patient. Assessments of particular importance in older persons include:

Hearing (see "Evaluation of hearing loss in adults")

Vision (see "Geriatric health maintenance", section on 'Vision screening')

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Mar 02, 2016.
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