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Fostering health throughout the lifetime

Dr. Kenneth Rockwood speaks to an elderly patient

Dr. Kenneth Rockwood administers a Geriatric Ambulatory Care/Memory Disability Clinic which sees seniors with health problems related to frailty or dementia.

Dr. Kenneth Rockwood is changing how the world thinks about ageing.

Dr. Rockwood developed the "Clinical Frailty Scale” at Dalhousie University, in close collaboration with mathematician Arnold Mitnitski, with whom he had developed the frailty index. For both measures the team translated various signs of frailty into a numerical ranking, with lower scores being less severe. This system is now used in hospital networks around the globe.

Things like inactivity, poor nutrition, and social isolation or loneliness, and multiple medications contribute to frailty. When you live with frailty, your body has less ability to cope with minor illnesses that would normally have minimal impact if you were healthy. Depending on the degree of  frailty, even minor stressors may trigger rapid and dramatic deterioration.

Dr. Kenneth Rockwood has practiced and taught geriatric medicine and neurology at Dalhousie University for 30 years. He is the world’s foremost international expert on frailty. For twenty-five years he was s also the Kathryn Allen Weldon Professor of Alzheimer Research at Dalhousie University. An accomplished researcher, and a health system leader, he leads Nova Scotia Health’s Frailty and Elder Care Network.

Small changes can have big results in an individual’s overall wellness. Dr. Rockwood’s continues to work with a focus on guiding patients through accessible adjustments to their health. As he says, “we engage patients where they’re at.”

“We’re focusing on everyday health, such as eating well, learning well, and exercising,” he says. “Challenge your thinking, assess hearing and vision, consume fewer processed foods. These are changes that, with help, anyone can make that will have a huge impact on their long-term health.”

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