Having a good relationship with a doctor who is qualified to meet your health care needs is an important part of healthy aging. For some older adults, switching from your current primary care physician to a geriatrician might be a good idea.

What Is a Geriatrician?

A geriatrician is a physician who specializes in geriatrics, the branch of medicine that focuses on senior health and the prevention and treatment of disability and disease in old age. Geriatricians are board-certified in family medicine or internal medicine, and have also obtained the Certificate of Added Qualifications in Geriatric Medicine.

Your geriatric health care team may also include nurses, social workers, nutritionists, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, and psychiatrists who have special training or experience in treating older adults.

When You Might Need a Geriatrician

As you enter your senior years, you may develop disabilities or illnesses that are more common to this age group. While some seniors have no health concerns, many struggle with frailty, incontinence, frequent falls, problems with memory, and medication-related side effects.ADVERTISING

Most of the time, a general internist or family physician can serve as your primary care provider, especially if he or she is experienced in dealing with older people. But if you are especially frail or have complicated medical problems, you might want to switch to a geriatrician. The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) suggests that a geriatrician be consulted when:

  • Significant age-related frailty and impairment occur, which is more likely in older people who have multiple diseases, disabilities, and/or mental problems.
  • The patient’s condition is causing the caregiving team, including family members and friends, to feel significant stress and strain.

The Holistic Approach of a Geriatric Health Care Team

A geriatric health care team doesn’t just treat your medical conditions. They take a more holistic approach, evaluating your past illnesses in addition to your current health condition to come up with a healthy aging plan that’s right for you.

If you’re suffering from significant frailty, having problems performing so-called activities of daily living — like bathing, dressing, or eating — or dealing with other ailments associated with old age, your team will…

This article was sourced from EveryDayHealth.com.

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