5 Great Reasons to See a Geriatric Physician

5 Great Reasons to See a Geriatric Physician

A Geriatric Physician or Geriatrician is a doctor who specialize in senior health.

They’re trained in caring for the elderly and their knowledge can help keep your loved be happy and healthy in their golden years.

Our baby boomer generation is now beginning to enter their senior years.  Currently 1 in every 5 Americans will be over the age of 65 and seniors, who will be over 85, are now the fastest growing segment of our population.

A geriatric physician is a primary care doctor who has received special training  in the health care needs of the elderly.

Many seniors today have many special medical needs from addressing the natural aging process, to managing multiple medical problems.  Geriatricians have a greater understanding of these issues and they have better knowledge in how to treat the elderly.

How a Geriatrician Can Benefit Your Loved One’s Health

Since Geriatricians are trained to identify how illnesses in a senior is different from illness in a younger person, they know how to maintain the elderly in an independent living and social support system by using a more holistic approach which emphasizes healthy aging as well as preventive care

Let’s  look at how a geriatrician approaches some of the special senior health issues:

  • Frailty is inevitable in the aging process. This may affect a person’s ability to function independently from time to time.  It can also cause them to be more apt to fall and they may need more supervision and assistance. A geriatrician can  help anticipate problems and put a care plan in place.
  • Multiple medical problems. Many seniors have multiple medical conditions, such as arthritis, kidney and or heart disease, diabetes, as well as neurological conditions. A geriatrician is trained in how to treat these conditions and how they interact in a senior person’s body.
  • Multiple medications. Multiple medical conditions sometimes requires taking numerous prescription drugs. An older body breaks down medications differently than a younger one. A geriatric physician knows how to prescribe proper dosages of medication and they can quickly recognize side effects and drug interactions in seniors.

NOTE:  I personally don’t believe that medications should be the first line of defense.  I prefer to find a more natural treatment for sickness and disease.

  • Mental decline. As we age, we may lose some cognitive ability, but there is a difference between normal aging and abnormal aging. A geriatric physician is trained to know the difference.  They can provide appropriate treatment for those conditions that are curable.

Please NOTE: Because of my personal and nursing experience I can say that “Medications such as Namenda and Aricept, Exelon Do not Work!” The side effects of these and other meds now used in our senior population are, in my opinion, extremely harmful and I would not give them to my own family. This is why I no longer practice nursing in a facility.

There are currently no treatments that will stop or reverse the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are currently five FDA-approved medications available that may be able to relieve symptoms for patients for a limited time such as memory loss, for a limited time. For people with mild to moderate symptoms, doctors may prescribeAricept®Exelon®, or Razadyne®. Moderate to severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be treated with Aricept®Exelon®Namenda® or Namzaric®. For more information on these products and to access prescribing information, please visit the manufacturers’ websites.
  • Caregiving advice. Being a caregiver for someone with senior health issues can be confusing, stressful, and exhausting. Seniors who need help with daily tasks (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom, or eating may qualify for services via Medicaid. You need to check with your doctor for a diagnosis and with your state for available services. A geriatric physician may help you find the outside assistance and support from professionals, i.e., a care manager or a home health aide.

Your Healthy-Aging Geriatric Team

Seniors who have complicated health issues, may need the services a geriatric specialist who can provide and coordinate care. Multiple problems often require a team approach. A geriatric specialist’s team may include:

  • A geriatric nurse
  • A social worker
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • A registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator
  • A pharmacist
  • A geriatric psychiatrist
  • Finding a Geriatrician

How many board certified geriatricians and geropsychiatrists are there in the U.S.? 

  There are 7,428 board certified geriatricians (7,063 in allopathic medicine and 365 in osteopathic medicine) and
  1,629 (1,618 allopathic and 11 osteopathic) board certified geriatric psychiatrists in the U.S.i
  iAmerican Board of Medical Specialties. 2013-2014 ABMS Board Certification Report.  Certification statistics 
  reported through 2013-2014 by the ABMS Member Boards. Available at: 
  http://www.abms.org/news-events/2013-2014-abms-board-certification-report-now-available/ 
  and Scheinthal S, Gross C and Morales-Egizi, L. Appendix 2: AOA Specialty Board Certification. 
  Certification statistics as of December 2014. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2015;114 (4), 275-278.

You the caregiver need support and a place to share your needs and frustrations as the disease progresses. I offer support, encouragement and mentor-ship in the area of care-giving and picking up the pieces after your caregiver journey has ended.  Sign up for our newsletter and and feel free to contact me here.

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