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Care of the Elderly

*This course is available to CMA members only.

Course registration Become a CMA member*


As every physician knows from their clinical work, the number of older Canadians is increasing. The number of people over 85 is the fastest growing demographic in Canada and this is having an impact on all fields of medicine. Primary care and family medicine play an enormous role in caring for seniors but managing frail patients can be challenging given complexity of care, time constraints, and limitations of resources. The impact of dementia, multiple co-morbidities and polypharmacy mean that family physicians must be skilled and knowledgeable clinicians, excellent managers of time and resources, and have lots of patience!

These clinical cases will cover a range of topics commonly experienced when caring for elderly patients and will provide a practical approach to managing: falls, multiple medications, cognitive changes, and weight loss. These are all problems that family physicians deal with each week if not daily. The impact of excellent care with these “geriatric giants” includes improved quality of life, delayed placement, hospital avoidance and cost savings. Managing these issues well is also satisfying and rewarding for the family physician and of vital importance to the older person and their families. Without excellent family medicine care of the geriatric patient, the impact of the ageing population on our healthcare system and society will be even greater.

Subject Matter Experts

Christopher Frank, MD, CCFP, FCFP Clinical Leader, Specialized Geriatric Services, Providence Care, Kingston, ON Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Queens University

Michelle Gibson, MD, MEd, CCFP Director, Student Assessment, Undergraduate Medical Education, Queen’s University Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Queen’s University

Frank Molnar, MSc, MDCM, FRCPC Medical Director - Regional Geriatric Program of Eastern Ontario Associate Professor - University of Ottawa

Course Duration

2.0 hours

Learning Objectives

After completing this online learning module, you will be able to:

  • List at least 5 of the most common causes/contributing factors related to weight loss in the elderly and list initial investigations;
  • Describe behaviours/presentations suggestive of cognitive impairment and describe the evaluation to distinguish between depression, delirium, and dementia;
  • Demonstrate the ability to review a medication list and identify medications contributing to functional and cognitive decline and other iatrogenic illnesses commonly seen in older patients (including falls, urinary incontinence, weight loss);
  • Describe an approach to falls that incorporates management of co-morbid conditions and multiple medications; and
  • Identify and list risk issues existing for an older person living at home (including falls, malnutrition, driving, medication adverse events, non-adherence, and elder abuse.)

This continuing professional development (CPD) program has been designed to consider the CanMEDS Physician Competency Framework, including the roles of: Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Health Advocate, Manager, Scholar and Professional.


  • MainPro M1 – 2.0 credits
    This educational Program meets the accreditation criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been accredited by Professional Development & Conferencing Services, Memorial University for up to 2.0 Mainpro-M1 credits.
    Expiry date: December 15, 2015
  • Maintenance of Certification (Section 1) – 2.0 credits
    This educational Program is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1), as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and approved by Professional Development & Conferencing Services, Memorial University.
    Expiry date: December 15, 2015


Funds in support of this CPD activity were provided as an educational grant to Memorial University and independently allocated and disbursed in accordance with current CMA guidelines. Funds in support of this program were provided by the Canadian Medical Association.

Course registration Become a CMA member*

*This course is available to CMA members only.