When children need medical care, parents don’t hesitate to seek out the services of pediatricians because they know that pediatricians are specially trained in the health care needs of life’s early years.
The same should hold true for your senior years. Older individuals have many unique medical and health needs. So it only makes sense to consider the services and advice of a medical professional who specializes in recognizing and responding to those needs.
Geriatrics has been a certified medical specialty for only slightly more than 20 years, so it’s not surprising that many people are unclear about the services that geriatricians offer. Geriatricians are physicians – usually specialists in internal or family medicine – who have received additional training in the often complex area of the medical, social and psychological needs of older patients.
Growing older doesn’t cause disease, but a number of chronic and acute medical conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and dementia, are related to the aging process, and two or more of these conditions will often occur simultaneously. In fact, the average 75-year-old has three chronic conditions and takes five different prescription drugs daily. When a patient has multiple chronic diseases, symptoms of one illness can mask those of another.
Acute infections, drug interactions or inappropriate dosage levels can cause illness, confusion or delirium in older patients. A geriatrician will not only be able to recognize how multiple conditions or medications are affecting an individual patient, but will also be trained to look for social and psychological factors that could also affect an older individual’s health.
Older individuals also face many obstacles beyond medical conditions that can impact their health. Many lack easy access to transportation, have limited financial resources and must rely on someone else to help them with the activities of daily living. Often, they are unfamiliar with community resources and don’t know where to turn for assistance. Geriatricians are experts at understanding these needs and knowing the community-based resources available to older adults. A geriatrician will work closely with patients and their families to develop individualized plans of care based on the patient’s abilities and priorities.
The mission of geriatric medicine isn’t only to care for individuals when they become too frail to care for themselves. The goal of geriatricians is to help their patients maintain a healthy lifestyle that will allow them to continue living independently in their communities for as long as possible.
Successful aging means more than adding years to your life. It means adding life to your years. If you have reached your mid-50s or are older, you may want to consider giving us a call to see how we can help you make and follow the lifestyle and medical choices that will enable you to remain healthy, active and independent.
If your elderly loved ones are exhibiting one or more of the following, do give us a call and see how we can help.
- Noticeable changes in the older adults cognition. (decreased short term memory, forgetting to take medications, periods of confusion etc)
- One or more falls in the past 9 months. (falling while using a walker, tripping over a loose rug, sliding in a shower)
- Marked changes in behavior or emotions. (increased irritability, more argumentative, emotionally withdrawn or sad)
- The older adult is experiencing difficulty with one or more activities of daily living. (trouble bathing, getting dressed and preparing meals)
- The elderly person exhibits signs of self neglect or inability to care for his or her home. (house appears messier, bills are not paid, deceasing appetite)
- The older adult has poor social support or is geographically distanced from relatives. (few friends, lives alone, mainly homebound)
- The senior’s primary caregiver (husband, wife, son or daughter) is feeling overwhelmed and having trouble handling the person’s ongoing care needs.
- An aging- associated disease is a disease that is seen with increasing frequency. These diseases are distinguished from the aging process itself because we all age, but not all experience all age-associated diseases.
Examples of aging-associated disease are cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, cataract, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease. The incidence of all of these diseases increases rapidly with aging (increases exponentially with age, in the case of cancer).
- At Rejuven∞ our Geriatric Care Division handles
- the following health complications
- Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia
- Arthritis / Osteoarthritis
- Asthma / Respiratory problems
- Foot and Hand Swelling
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Pain (headache, neck, back)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Swallowing Problem
- Urinary Tract Infection