A geriatrician is a medical doctor who has completed additional training and certification in Geriatrics. To be board-certified in geriatric medicine, they must complete a residency in internal medicine or family medicine followed by an additional year of clinical geriatrics fellowship.
So when should you choose a Geriatrician?
More than half of adults age 65 and older have 3 or more medical problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, or high blood pressure. Geriatricians take into account the patients overall health before they begin treating a specific medical problem and use methods to treat the “big picture” rather than just a single ailment.
Geriatricians are not only trained for special medical situations, they are also educated in how to best communicate with the older population and are used to working with families who are often involved in the day-to-day care and medical decisions for their older family members. They coordinate with social workers, therapists and pharmacists to ensure that patients receive the proper care.
According to the American Geriatrics Society, regardless of an older person’s age, a geriatrician should be consulted when:
- An older person’s condition causes significant impairment and frailty. These patients tend to be over the age of 75 and coping with a number of diseases and disabilities, including both physical and cognitive (mental) problems.
- Family members and friends of the elderly person are feeling a great deal of stress or strain as caregivers.
- Family members and patients have trouble following complex treatments, or dealing with many healthcare professionals for their multiple health problems.
For more information on Geriatrics, or to find a Geriatrician in your area, visit http://www.healthinaging.org.