Top Doctors 2011 Profile: Craig Moss, M.D., Geriatric Medicine in Kingston

Maintaining a healthy mind and body as you age



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dr. craig mossPhotograph by Michael Polito

Depression is fairly common among seniors, too, Moss says. “An older patient may come in and say, ‘I’m depressed and can’t sleep. What can you give me?’ I might then ask how many hours of TV they watch. They might say, ‘Well, I turn the TV on at 10 in the morning and turn it off at 11 or 12 at night.’ I might suggest that — for just two weeks — they stop all TV. They sometimes look at me like I’ve told them to get off heroin! But with those who do stop, it’s amazing how many are no longer depressed, no longer have trouble sleeping.”

Moss points out that every case of depression is unique, and no one-size-fits-all approach works for all patients. But the point is, he says, “Stay active. Don’t just stare at the TV for hours on end. Go out with friends, go walking, go bowling.”

As an internist, Moss deals with adult patients of all ages, not just the elderly. “Aging well is largely about meeting your maximum potential — and that doesn’t stop when you’re 20 or 30 or 50 or 70. Say, with exercise — I’m not asking you to climb Kilimanjaro; everyone has a different exercise tolerance. But assuming you’re in good health, try to get to a point where you’re a bit short of breath and sweaty — sort of huffy and puffy — a few times a week. That’s when you start to regenerate brain cells and prevent some common, age-related health problems. It may mean just walking up a flight of stairs for some of us; for others it may mean running a marathon.”

Moss, who has received awards for community involvement, says the entire office team at MAHV is committed to serving as a positive force in people’s lives. “Those are the values we try to live by,” he says. “I grew up in the Valley. My family gets sick, like everyone else’s does, and we all want excellent doctors here who care about the community.”

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They practice what they preach: His wife, Dr. Karnasiewicz — they have three children — founded the popular annual Women’s Health and Fitness Expo, held in the mid-Hudson area and now in its 11th year. Moss is also part of a group that conducts an annual health clinic in Nicaragua. “We take Tulane med students to areas that are sometimes pretty remote; there’s no electricity, no running water,” Moss explains. “There isn’t a lot of the high-tech equipment that they’re used to, so it helps them reconnect with what it means to be a physician — to observe, listen, and really communicate with a patient.”

Rural cultures like Nicaragua have a lot to teach us, Moss says. “The elderly there tend to stay more involved than in our culture. The adults might all go out to work on the farms during the day; the older people stay behind to take care of the kids. The elderly have a sense of meaning there. That’s one of the biggest challenges now for the elderly and their families in our society: how to keep older people actively involved in the mix of life, participating and not giving up when you reach a certain age.”

He sums up: “I think we should embrace aging. People still tend to run away from it, but getting older is a normal part of living. We do different things at different times in life. Older people have a lot of wisdom, a lot of life experience to share — and our society should come back to honoring that more.”

» Visit Medical Associates of the Hudson Valley in Kingston, Ulster County, NY
» View the complete list of Top Doctors 2011
» Go to the Hudson Valley Health Guide for more doctors in the Hudson Valley, NY

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