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Heidi James, MD and Brandon Grove, MD

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In this patient interview, we explore one patient’s narrative on aging. She models “successful aging”; adapting to increasing frailty and decreasing independence, finding purpose and maintaining a sunny disposition. We examine the impact of grief and loss as well as the importance of connectedness in older age.



  • Heidi and Brandon talk to Mrs. Pauline Toner, a 90-year old patient of Heidi’s, about the process of aging. Reading a summary of the conversation doesn’t do it justice, so spend a very worthwhile few minutes listening!


  • Successful aging: a concept that embodies the impact of aging on three spheres in your life:

    • 1.  Cognitive Functioning - it may take more time for patients to express themselves so it is important to be patient and to provide appropriate reassurance.

    • 2.  Physical and Mental Health - Pauline talks about how she has slowed down with age and she’s not able to do some of the same things she used to do. Her children help her with different tasks around the home.

    • 3.  Social Interaction - Physical and mental functioning often lead to social isolation, especially as you start to outlive the people you care about like your spouse, siblings and closest friends.

Pauline had this to say about her interaction with the health care system: “I think most of the time its very very good, but...sometimes we find it hard to explain what we are feeling. It takes us time to get it out, so some others have to be a little more patient to listen to us. Give us the time to tell you what is wrong, and eventually, we’ll get it out, and to make us feel better too. You know, sometimes to say, ‘Well, look, I think you’re doing well. Keep it up.’”

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Be Kind and Enjoy Life Full episode audio for MD edition 180:14 min - 85 MB - M4AHippo Primary Care RAP July 2017 Written Summary 352 KB - PDF