What is geriatric care?
Geriatric care is an umbrella term that refers to healthcare and related services for older adults. Geriatric care may look different for each patient, sometimes involving just one geriatric specialist, or a team of providers that come together to give their help and expertise, such as a primary care provider, a home care nurse, an internal medicine specialist, a physical therapist, and so on.
In general, as a population, older adults are more likely to have multiple serious or chronic health conditions that require ongoing care, attention and management. They can also be more prone to things like falls, injuries, and accidents, since their physical strength tends to diminish. This risk can also be heightened if they are experiencing cognitive decline. Geriatric care can involve:
- More regular visits to a primary care provider (or family doctor) with closer attention and screening for chronic or serious health issues (i.e., Type 1 and 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular issues)
- More regular check-ups and follow up appointments with a geriatric care specialist, especially if there is sign of cognitive decline
- Education and discussion around how to maintain health and support with age, including identifying any support that may be needed
- Discussion of adapting the life and home environment to help ease the impacts of aging (i.e., using a cane, walker, or making adjustments in the home to negate the impact of stairs, or areas that may be high risk for a fall)
What kind of doctor treats the elderly?
There are a variety of different doctors that can play a role in treating the elderly. Depending on the care needs, this could include a primary care provider or family doctor, internal medicine specialist, or even someone like an orthopedic surgeon, as many older adults tend to need joint replacement surgeries, such as in the hip or knee. However, there is also a specialty known as geriatrics, targeted to the needs and treatment of older adults. These physicians are known as geriatricians, and these are the types of doctors that most commonly treat the elderly.
Geriatricians spend their medical training learning about, treating and managing various health issues that specifically impact older adults. Some geriatricians may have further sub-specialties, such as psychiatry or palliative (end of life) care, and may work in many different environments, such as a hospital, an inpatient or outpatient clinic, or their own practice, alongside other healthcare practitioners.
Do you provide geriatric medicine treatments?
Yes. At Town Center Family Practice, we are proud to provide comprehensive geriatric care for you and your loved ones. Elderly folks need specified treatment and support, and our team is here to help you or your loved one. Some of the most common issues or risks that impact the geriatric population, and that we have available treatments for, include:
- Cognitive decline or issues, such as dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease). It’s important to know the signs and monitor yourself or your loved one for them, since early intervention and treatment can be crucial in slowing the progression of cognitive decline.
- Heart disease, which has consistently ranked as the leading cause of death in adults over the age of 65
- Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis (often more common in older women). This refers to low or minimal bone mass and/or brittle bones. This can be particularly serious if the senior experiences a fall, which is unfortunately a common occurrence.
- Type 2 diabetes. In some cases type 2 may be managed via diet, but some older adults will need the support of insulin.
- Influenza, pneumonia, and other viruses or infections. Younger people are usually able to fight off such viruses with minimal effort or disruption, but they can be very serious for older adults, as their immune systems tend to be weaker and more vulnerable.
Vision and hearing loss, which may necessitate things like hearing aids, a stronger eyeglass prescription, or in some cases surgeries or procedures related to the eyes (such as cataract removal)