What is a geriatrician and how do I know if one is needed?

For senior citizens or anyone caring for an older individual, many of the signs of aging can be quite obvious. The ways to deal with those signs, however, might not be as clear. Whether it be depression, incontinence, arthritis or an increase in falls, a common question is whether the long-time family doctor has the necessary experience to provide proper care and advice. At some point in time, a visit to a geriatrician may be a good idea.
But what is a geriatrician and how do I know if it’s worth it to add another doctor to the mix?
According to AgingCare.com, a geriatrician is a physician who has completed a residency in either internal medicine or family medicine with an additional one- to two-year training fellowship in the medical, social and psychological issues that concern older adults. Visits to a geriatrician can include an analysis of pain levels, a screening for osteoporosis, vision and hearing tests, dietary consultations, a social worker evaluation and even a family conference.
But not every older individual will need this level of physician care. A good candidate for a geriatrician visit, however, would be someone who has complicated medical and social problems, someone who may take a “dizzying” amount of prescription medications or someone who needs to tap into social services available to seniors. Geriatricians are often more familiar with those types of community resources.
Furthermore, “Geriatricians are able to treat older patients, manage multiple disease symptoms, and develop care plans that address the special health care needs of older adults,” says AgingCare.com. “Geriatricians may have an added sensitivity to helping an elderly person maintain high levels of functioning and quality of life.”
But if you are still unsure as to whether a visit to a geriatrician would be beneficial to you or an aging loved one, don’t hesitate to talk to the people here at Freedom Home Care. We can talk to you about the experiences that we have had talking to many of our patients in the same situation. After all, we’re here to help.