May 28, 2023

7 Reasons to Prefer Geriatricians Over General Practitioners for Senior Care

When your children were little, you booked medical appointments with a pediatrician. Besides, infants and children have specialized needs that are different from those of adults.

Conversely, older adults often have unique medical issues with old age. Most of them are problems they didn’t have in their 30s or 40s or underlying issues that worsen. Yet many people know that there are medical specialists just for seniors.

Most probably, when your elderly parents get sick, you take them to see a general practitioner. However, seeing a geriatrician doctor who majors in seniors’ medical issues would be best.

This article will outline who a geriatrician is and why it’s crucial to have your elderly loved ones see them. Read to the end!

Who Is a Geriatrician?

Did you know there are about 6900 geriatricians in the U.S. only? A geriatrician is a medical doctor specializing in senior care, especially for those with complicated medical conditions or functional limits.

The extra training exposes them to more age-related conditions like arthritis, heart disease, dementia, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s. A senior doctor can be a primary care doctor, offer consultations, or take a part job as part of a senior’s medical team. When should I start seeing a geriatrician?

There’s yet to be a definite time to start booking medical appointments with a geriatrician. People age differently. This means that one person may require specialized care sooner than another. Nonetheless, everyone ages and a geriatric doctor is your best shot to help you with old-age health issues. Search for primary care doctors near me, and you’ll be in the right direction to finding a geriatrician.

Common Issues for Older Persons

Seniors are likely to experience some conditions at higher rates than the rest. Common problems to expect include;

  • Impaired vision or hearing
  • Functional organ decline
  • Muscle degeneration
  • Immobility
  • Failed cognitive ability

Even though some of these issues can negatively affect the general quality of life, they are not essentially fatal. However, there are certain conditions to monitor.

There is no defined age at which these illnesses — also called “geriatric giants” — start to occur. But with the transition from middle age to old age, doctors and seniors must have a treatment plan under consideration. This prevents a minor problem from becoming more severe.

These conditions can ease your search for a general practitioner near me. But in most cases, specialized care is vital. With the best and most highly experienced geriatric doctor in place, your aging loved ones stand a good chance of staying healthy throughout.

Aside from listening to the senior’s health problems, a geriatrician will also conduct physical exams. So when necessary, they’ll order lab tests or imaging studies to ensure they get to the bottom of the problem. Even after treatment, a senior doctor will still follow up on the elderly’s progress and adjust treatment if necessary. Though geriatricians are rare, you can always search for primary care offices near me and get valuable assistance.

7 Reasons Why a Geriatric Doctor Is Better than a General Practitioner for Senior Care

Research shows that geriatricians have comforting attitudes and enjoy improving the overall quality of life for the elderly. In short, a senior doctor helps older patients age gracefully in excellent health. Here are some reasons why a senior might prefer to see a geriatrician instead of a general practitioner (GP):

1.   Expertise in the Unique Health Needs of Older Persons

Geriatricians are trained to understand the specific health issues that can affect older adults. A geriatric doctor will;

  • Assess age-related issues
  • Monitor changes in the body
  • Analyze the effect of multiple medications,
  • Assist with challenges of managing chronic conditions.

As specialized doctors, geriatricians are familiar with treatments’ potential risks and benefits for older adults. You’re confident that your elderly parent’s issues are in good hands!

2.   Routine Home Visits

Some geriatricians offer routine home visits to see how a patient is fairing. These experts check on the seniors’ lives and provide changes that could improve function, mobility, nutrition and safety.

Also, a geriatric doctor recognizes the need for family members and other caregivers to attend appointments. This helps them coordinate care with other specialists.

3.   Provide Coordinated Care

Geriatricians often work with a team that includes nurses, social workers, and other healthcare professionals. This allows them to provide more comprehensive care and coordinate a senior’s care from multiple specialists.

4.   Offer Comprehensive Care

 Geriatricians are trained to look at the whole person, considering their physical health and mental and social well-being. They can provide a more holistic approach to care, addressing all aspects of an older adult’s health and well-being.

5.   Knowledge of Medication Side Effects

A geriatric doctor is also aware of the side effects that medications can have on the elderly. Aging adults experience many health problems for which they get multiple prescriptions.

Due to the many medications, a senior is likely to have a higher risk of drug interactions and adverse side effects. Even over-the-counter drugs or supplements can cause problems, and the effects can grow. Remarkably, a geriatrician has the expertise to assess an individual’s prescriptions and suggest changing or stopping specific drugs from avoiding future potential issues.

6.   Easy Navigation of Healthcare Systems

Geriatricians can help seniors navigate the often-complex healthcare system. This includes coordinating care between specialists, helping seniors understand their treatment options, and assisting with advance care planning.

7.   Address Sensitive Needs

Geriatricians can address the social and psychological needs of older adults: Geriatricians are trained to recognize and address the social and psychological needs of older adults, including issues such as loneliness, depression, and cognitive decline.

Geriatricians are sensitive to older adults’ social and emotional needs and can provide support and guidance to help seniors maintain their independence and quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. At What Age Should You Change To A Geriatric Doctor?

It’s best to start seeing a geriatric doctor when you hit 65, even if you don’t have any significant health concerns. A comprehensive geriatric evaluation and work with your primary care provider will help to prevent common old-age health issues.

  1. How Is Geriatric Medicine Different From Internal Medicine?

Geriatric medicine is studied explicitly for the needs of aging patients, while internal medicine is a general practice.

  1. Why Are Geriatrics Not Widespread?

Most medical students prefer young patients and severe but curable somatic illnesses. The intricacy of geriatric patients discourages students from taking this specialty.

Parting Shot

A geriatrician has advanced training in the unique health needs of elderly patients. Still, they are well-equipped to manage the complex and often multiple health conditions that are common in older adults.

Overall, it’s worth noting that while a geriatric doctor is an excellent resource for older adults, general practitioners can also provide high-quality care for seniors. However, a geriatrician may best fit the seniors with tailored support and specialized care for their unique needs. 

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