Most people know that a pediatrician is a doctor that specializes in working with children. Similarly, a geriatrician specializes in working with older adults. What age for geriatric medicine treat? Geriatric medicine covers the unique healthcare needs of aging people. In a time where people are living longer and longer, this field of medicine is getting more attention. Huntington geriatric medical group, CA provides geriatric care to seniors in all stages of the aging process.
Internists and physicians are trained to focus on a patient’s illness. They work towards figuring out what is happening and quickly treating it. As people get older, they start to have different healthcare issues. For example, their bodies may not absorb medication in the same way that young adults do. They may be taking multiple types of medications at once. Their sense of balance may decline, and they may fall more frequently. Their cognitive skills may suffer. A geriatrician is an expert in these areas.
But geriatric age medicine is not just about treating illnesses one by one. A geriatrician treats the whole person. They can work with families and caregivers, as well as with other professionals such as social workers, to provide holistic care. A geriatrician can help a person decide whether it is time for them to give up driving, or what adaptive equipment they need in order to continue living independently.
Who Should See a Geriatric medicine professional?
The age for geriatric medicine is geared towards people who are 65 and older. This does not mean that every individual needs to find a doctor who practices geriatric medicine as soon as they turn 65. Some people may be fine continuing to see their usual doctor. However, it can be a good idea to do research on local geriatricians for when the time comes. How does a person know when to see a geriatrician?
As people get older, they are apt to develop health conditions that don’t just go away after a few weeks. Some examples are osteoporosis, incontinence, arthritis, and vision and hearing loss. Sometimes, treatments for one condition can make another condition worse. A geriatrician understands how multiple conditions affect each other.
Many people find themselves being prescribed more and more medications as they get older. An internist is well-educated on which medications have negative interactions with each other. But this knowledge is usually based on typical young adults. Geriatricians are experts on the medications that older people take. A geriatrician can review your medications and make sure you’re not taking anything dangerous or unnecessary.
It is normal to forget things from time to time, even when we’re still young. If you are worried about your memory, or you’ve been getting confused more easily, a geriatrician can help. They can screen you for Alzheimers or dementia and help you find ways to keep your cognitive skills sharp.
If you’ve fallen in situations where you wouldn’t ordinarily fall, such as getting out of bed or getting onto the toilet, you might be having some issues with your balance. A geriatrician can check out your balance and gait. They can recommend exercises to do at home which can improve your strength and balance.
Quality Of Life
Because geriatric medicine takes the whole person into account, general quality of life is considered important. If you find yourself feeling less happy in recent years, or if your health conditions or physical discomforts have been stopping you from doing the things you used to enjoy, a geriatrician may be able to help.
Benefits of Geriatric Medicine
Even people who don’t develop complex medical needs as they age can benefit from seeing a geriatrician.
One benefit is that a geriatrician is likely to spend more time with the patient. A senior citizen can thus take their time discussing all of their concerns and asking any questions they have.
Support for Caregivers
A patient’s family members and other caregivers can work with the patient’s geriatrician as well. A geriatrician can help them learn how to care for the patient and refer them to services such as support groups. If the patient needs additional support, such as an in-home health aide or a nursing home, the geriatrician can help the family members to locate what they need.
Geriatric medicine often includes a team of people rather than just a doctor. Social workers, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians and nutritionists, and psychiatrists are just a few of the people who may be involved. The geriatrician can coordinate care and facilitate communication among professionals.
End of Life
At some point, we all need to have discussions with our loved ones and caregivers about things like advanced directives and living wills. A geriatrician can support senior citizens in these decisions.
Finally, a geriatrician can help ease a person’s discomfort at the end of their life. If the geriatrician has been involved in the patient’s care for a while, they will have ideas of what treatments and strategies will be most helpful. They can help make decisions about palliative care and hospice. These are things that an internist would not have the time or expertise to assist with.
As people age, they often have more complex physical and medical needs. Their quality of life can suffer if they do not have the proper support and care. Geriatric medicine is a field that supports and cares for seniors until the very end of their lives. If you’re wondering whether a geriatrician can help you or a loved one, contact Huntington Welness Center in Pasadena, CA.