Cancer affects older adults more than any other age group. Older adults face challenges when confronting a cancer diagnosis, which may be different from the challenges faced by younger patients. Older adults with cancer may be dealing with medical and social issues that make their care more complicated such as living alone, having additional medical conditions and disabilities, or living on a fixed income.
Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center recognizes that older adults with cancer may require specialized care to support them and their families. However, we also recognize that older adults often have coping skills developed through years of living that allow them to face cancer with strength, dignity and the ability and desire to make decisions about their own health care goals and treatment.
About the Living Well Program
The Living Well Program is part of the Joan Karnell Supportive Care Program at Pennsylvania Hospital. The goal of this program is to provide expert symptom management and support for older adults with cancer.
Adults over age 65 can be referred to this program at diagnosis or at any point in their illness. A comprehensive assessment is completed and referrals are made to appropriate clinicians. Patients and their caregivers are followed through the course of their disease and needs are re-evaluated on a regular basis.
Components of the Living Well Program include:
- Comprehensive medical assessment
- Pain and symptom management
- Social work evaluation and counseling
- Nutrition counseling
- Psychological support
- Patient and family education
- Physical medicine/rehabilitation evaluation
- Art therapy
- Shiatsu massage therapy
- Caregiver support
- Community resource referrals
- Referrals to geriatric medical specialists
Resources for Older Adults
There are many organizations in the community that offer valuable resources for older adults.
- Elder Locator (Find aging services in your area) 800-677-1116
- AARP 888-687-2277
- Medicare 800-MEDICARE (633-4227)
- APPRISE 800-783-7067
- State Health Insurance Counseling Program (SHIP) 800-792-8820