Do I Need A Geriatric Doctor?

Do I Need A Geriatric Doctor?

Very often as we age our health conditions begin to pile one upon another.  It, therefore, makes sense that the individual treatments can sometimes interfere with each other causing unforeseen problems that can affect our overall health and quality of life.  It might be time to seek the services of a geriatric doctor.

So what is a geriatric doctor, aka a geriatrician, and how do they differ from a regular doctor?  To begin with, geriatricians specialize in treating people who are 65 or older.  They’re doctors of internal or family medicine who have additional training in areas that are more likely to affect older people.  These conditions include, but aren’t limited to, dementia, arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis, incontinence, frailty, fatigue, and mobility issues.  A geriatrician can act as the primary care doctor or work as part of an older adult’s medical team.

Geriatricians have more experience with people who have multiple chronic conditions and conditions that are more common in seniors.  They also have a better understanding of how older bodies respond to various drugs and treatments.  If you engaged the services of a pediatrician for your children it makes sense to consider the services of a geriatric doctor for anyone over 65.

For a variety of reasons, seniors need additional time at each appointment with their doctors.  The health challenges they face can be more complex and crafting a care plan that encompasses all of their health providers and medications can be a painstaking process.  Additionally, if palliative and end-of-life issues are being considered, the conversations can be extensive.

If the senior’s current doctor has a lot of experience with elder health issues and they’re happy with the care they receive, there’s no need to change.  However, if the health of the senior is declining without an obvious reason or if the senior is being prescribed more and more medications without benefit, it might be time to consider looking for a geriatrician.

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