What is a geriatrician?
A geriatrician is a doctor who specializes in caring for people 65 and older. They’re doctors of internal medicine or family medicine who do an extra 1 or 2 years of training in areas related to elder care.
What’s the difference between a geriatrician and regular doctor
Regular doctors like internal or family medicine doctors are more likely to have a majority of patients in the 30 to 60 age range.
Because geriatricians see more older people, they are more familiar with issues that are more common to aging adults. They also have more experience with how older adult bodies respond to different treatments. Internal or family medicine doctors might have to make educated guesses based on their experience with younger patients.
It’s similar to how pediatricians specialize in caring for children. In a lifetime, someone could start with a pediatrician, change to an internal medicine doctor, and then switch to a geriatrician.
Should my older adult see a geriatrician?
Older adults who have more health issues may want to see a geriatrician because they’ll most likely have more experience treating multiple health problems.
Geriatricians also tend to collect lots of information about patients’ lifestyles, community, family, and their entire medical history. This is more than what typical internal medicine doctors ask about.
Because they ask patients additional questions, geriatricians can dig deeper to find out if issues are actually caused by non-age related illness or injury rather than chalking it up to getting older.
Of course, if your older adult’s current doctor has plenty of experience with their health conditions and you’re happy with the care they provide, there’s no need to switch.
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