American culture is beginning to celebrate age instead of criticizing it. With our changing interpretation of age, sometimes the unique health challenges of being an older adult are overlooked. Here’s why seeing a geriatrician after age 65 may be a good idea:
Complexity of Multiple Conditions
As we age, complications can mount. It’s not uncommon for those over age 65 to have three or more pre-existing conditions. After all, age is one of the biggest risk factors for many known diseases. If you are seeing multiple physicians, a strong geriatrician should lead your health care team. They are skilled at co-managing these conditions and screening for medication interference.
Broader Outlook On Health
Most doctors, even primary care specialists, are trained to focus on the illness whereas geriatricians are trained to look at all aspects – not just the physical ones. For example, a sudden loss in weight may not be a physical problem, but the result of not being able to drive to the store. Geriatricians can pull in support from local resources to help navigate changing life situations.
A geriatrician has experience helping patients through many of the circumstances common to older adults such as bereavement, mobility challenges, independent living and safety concerns. This insight is especially useful for those caring for older loved ones. A good geriatrician incorporates care that extends beyond the office visit. For example, more than one out of four older people fall each year. The injuries sustained from a fall can seriously impact an older adult’s mobility and health. Geriatricians instruct their patients and caregivers on ways to avoid falls both in the home and when out and about.
Geriatricians are especially well suited to care for older adults with memory impairments. Caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s can be very draining for family members involved. A geriatrician is uniquely trained in caring for people with memory impairments and can best support the patient and caregivers through their own services and connection to support services.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
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