Geriatric medicine (or geriatrics for short) is a specialty that focuses on the health and disease of elderly people. The common goal of all geriatricians is to promote health, longevity, and ensure that the quality of life of an elderly person is as vibrant as possible.
Here are the most common questions that people often have about geriatric medicine.
Why we need geriatric physicians in the first place?
”The body of an infant, an adult, and an elderly adult are like three iterations of the same beautiful concept of the human body. Yes, they are very similar, but the peculiarities and differences are also huge. That’s why there is a medical specialist for children (a pediatrician), and that’s precisely why we also need an expert in elderly health—a geriatrician,” suggests Dr. Valerie Heywood, one of our experts.
Other situations when the expertise of a geriatric doctor could come in handy:
- Visiting hospice patients
- Checking the health of residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- Fall prevention
”The health and life of an elderly person require a special kind of attention. It’s not just about diagnosing conditions and prescribing treatments: it’s about making every single day of the patient’s life filled with as much joy, comfort, and energy as possible,” says Dr. Dillobar Gelfond, a geriatrician at our dedicated senior medical center in South Florida.
At what age should you start seeing a geriatric doctor?
As a rule, most people start seeing a geriatric physician after they reach the age of 65 years, as this threshold is the very definition of senior age. In reality, there are cases when it’s recommended to start visiting a geriatrician sooner.
Here’s what Dr. Mario Galdames, a geriatric physician at the Comprehensive Care Group South Florida, suggests on the matter: ”Everyone’s health is unique and should be approached individually. For example, if a person starts experiencing memory decline at 60 years, waiting for the official milestone of senior age is a bad idea. Discussing the matter with a geriatrician and starting appropriate treatment as soon as possible could make a major difference in this person’s cognitive abilities in the long run.”
To summarize, you should start seeing a geriatric physician when you’re 65 years old if you are in good health, but an earlier appointment is a good idea if you have any kind of health issues that could be related to aging.
Should you see a geriatrician if you are healthy?
Contrary to the common misconception, geriatricians can help you in many ways even if you are healthy as can be. For example:
- Create a physical activity regime suitable for your age and health
- Design a nutritional plan that would take into account the peculiarities of your age
- Discuss health issues that may arise in the following decades (based on your lifestyle and family) and make a plan to prevent or delay their onset
As one of our geriatricians, Dr. Reinaldo Camargo, says, ”Reaching a senior age does not (and should not) mean your life stops being exciting. You still can enjoy sports, eat almost everything you want, and generally enjoy every day—a geriatrician just helps you to take care of the important details.”
After the age of 65, everyone should start seeing a geriatrician—and some people should make an appointment even sooner than that!
As always, it’s better to discuss the matter in person, so don’t hesitate in reaching out and making an appointment with one of our experts.