Aging trends confirm a population with longer life expectancy, many living to be octogenarians and centenarians. This group differs in that it has a greater likelihood for functional and cognitive disorders and additional comorbidity. With this background, the specialist including the gastroenterologist must adopt an approach that differs from that to the young patient; one can anticipate difficulties in preparing for a diagnostic procedure and comprehending the purpose for diagnostic testing or management. Physiological age must be given importance over chronological age; the ultimate goal should be restoration of functional status where possible, understanding risks involved, adherence to the patient's wishes and keeping quality of life foremost in mind.
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