Geriatric MedicineMilford, CT
Geriatric medicine encompasses all healthcare services and treatments for the elderly. Geriatricians, or geriatrics specialists, focus primarily on treating health conditions that typically affect older patients and preventive medicine to help mitigate or prevent various conditions. Prevention and early detection are key in reducing the risk of developing a disease or its progression.
At MD Care Now, we offer geriatric treatments for our elderly patients. Our team can help diagnose, treat, and monitor patients’ health conditions and keep them in good standing. To learn more about a procedure or schedule an appointment, call (475) 338-0467 today.
What is Geriatric Medicine?
Geriatric medicine is a subspecialty in the field of internal and family medicine. This specialty focuses on the complex medical and psychosocial problems of older adults, with the primary goals being health promotion and the treatment of disease and disability in later life. Although elderly patients often see a primary care or family doctor, they are often referred to a geriatric doctor that oversees, manages, or takes over their care.
A geriatrician can also become a patient’s primary healthcare provider. They would then take charge of all of the patient’s needs, including any medications, treatments, procedures, and referrals. Elderly patients often have more than one health condition and risk factors for others, therefore requiring multiple specialists. Geriatric medicine helps bridge the gap many elderly patients face in healthcare, bringing together pharmaceutical needs, social and community advantages, emotional and mental care, and financial challenges.
Doctors Who Practice Geriatrics
Geriatricians are specialty doctors who focus primarily on the treatment and services of elderly patients. They have extensive knowledge in the aging and development process and skills in the diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and rehabilitative aspects of illness in the elderly. Geriatricians can work with patients from the age of 65, but many patients seek care between the ages of 70 to 80.
A geriatrician can treat patients in their home, office, long-term care setting (such as a nursing home), a hospital, or a private clinic. Although they are in charge of the majority of the patient’s care and treatments, they work with other specialists and professionals on the patient’s care team. A care team typically consists of family members, caregivers, family physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, community-based service providers, physical therapists, and therapists.
Geriatric Services and Treatments
Geriatric medicine provides older patients with services ranging from mental health, internal and external health, acute and chronic health conditions, injuries, development and aging concerns, and all other aspects of elderly healthcare. Geriatricians typically specialize in the advanced care of older adults, integrative care, and the promotion of healthy aging. As so, their services, treatments, and procedures involve both management and prevention of disease.
The most common treatments of health conditions that affect older patients include:
- hearing and vision loss
- heart failure
- balance issues
Geriatrics takes an integrative approach, allowing geriatricians to work with a network of physicians responsible for a patient’s care. It also allows them to monitor the progress of treatment, ensure medication interactions are safe, and manage and prioritize treatments on a patient’s plan. Promoting healthy aging comes from educating patients on how to stay active, healthy, and connected as well as understanding their aging development and risk factors.
Risk Factors Among Older Patients
Older patients are often at a higher risk of acquiring illnesses, diseases, and acute or minor health conditions. This risk only increases when a patient fails to or avoids undergoing medical care and necessary treatments. Geriatric medicine becomes crucial to living healthy and prolonging the aging process by a certain age, depending on each individual and their own set of risk factors.
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), older patients are at an increased risk of:
- Chronic diseases: Older adults are disproportionately affected by chronic conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Eighty percent have at least one chronic condition, and nearly 70% of Medicare beneficiaries have two or more.
- Falls: Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults, causing hip fractures, head trauma, and death (an older person dies every 19 minutes from a fall).
- Oral health: About 19% of older adults no longer have any natural teeth. Of those with teeth, about 19% of older adults have untreated tooth decay, and over 70% have periodontal (gum) disease.
- Behavioral health: Depression and other behavioral health problems are not a normal part of aging and can be treated. In 2014, nearly 11,000 people 60+ died by suicide. Despite the availability of effective interventions, 66% of older adults are not receiving the care they need.
Benefits of Seeking Geriatric Care
The most beneficial aspect of receiving geriatric care is the specialized, integrative nature of the field. Patients are seen as whole-person instead of having one condition or ailment, allowing them to receive high-quality care in every part of their aging. It focuses on the mental, physical, emotional, and financial needs of the patient. A field dedicated to the elderly provides them with a great deal of care they need compared to only seeking care when an incident or health concern occurs. Geriatric medicine also allows for early detection and prevention.
Geriatric care can be especially beneficial for patients experiencing one or more medical conditions, negative effects from a previous treatment, functional decline or physical frailty, a disease associated with aging (such as dementia, incontinence, or osteoporosis), or are managing multiple medications.
Schedule a Visit Today
Geriatric consultations and treatments are available at our office. The MD Care Now team looks forward to treating you, managing any conditions, and helping you age in great health. Call our office at (475) 338-0467 to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Geriatric Medicine
At what age should I start seeing a geriatrician?
There is no particular age that all patients should start visiting a geriatrician. Most patients begin looking for or are referred to one around the age of 65. Geriatricians recommend beginning geriatric care by age 70.
What are a geriatrician’s recommendations for staying healthy through aging?
It is important to continually take care of your health during the early and mid-adult years to attain good health during the aging process. That consists of staying active, eating a healthy diet, and regularly visiting a doctor for checkups and exams. We also recommend taking any necessary medications and undergoing critical procedures for conditions that are affecting their health.
What can a geriatrician treat?
Geriatricians specialize in treating the elderly as a population, but their services and treatments cover a wide span of healthcare specialties. They can diagnose, treat, and manage conditions such as dementia, osteoporosis, incontinence, cancer, hearing and vision loss, osteoarthritis, insomnia, and diabetes, among others.
Are there doctors for the elderly in every medical field?
Many specialists cater to the elderly, including physical therapists, psychologists, oncologists, internal medicine doctors, and others. However, geriatrics is the only subspecialty, especially for the elderly. Geriatric medicine encompasses all aspects of physical, emotional, and mental healthcare, and geriatricians can prescribe medications and refer patients to specialists as needed.
Does a geriatrician replace a primary care provider?
Most geriatricians work in one of two ways: either replacing primary care and taking over all healthcare needs of a patient or consulting on a need-by-need basis when certain problems arise. This can be discussed with your primary care doctor or geriatrician at any time. Every patient’s case is different.
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