Posted on Nov 26, 2019 in Senior Health
Elder care takes on many forms and starts with having the right doctors in place.
As you age, different medical concerns start to arise. Just as babies have specialized needs best served by pediatricians, there are many areas of elder care where specialists trump generalists.
Today, we’ll cover the doctors every senior needs to visit at some stage and we’ll get started by considering whether you should consider a geriatrician.
A geriatrician, also known as a geriatric physician, is a doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and disability in older adults.
Geriatric physicians are primary care doctors and provide the complete medical care you might need as you edge on in years. Board certified in internal medicine or family medicine, geriatricians also undertake extra training as well as certification in geriatric medicine.
The core focus for a geriatrician are the health issues that most commonly plague seniors from pain and memory loss to incontinence and falls. Beyond this, a geriatric physician will also be able to evaluate whether or not an elderly patient would benefit from assisted living where help is given with bathing, dressing and meal preparation.
Some of the conditions geriatric physicians treat include:
Whether or not you would benefit from the services of a geriatrician is dictated by your personal circumstances.
If you have no pressing health concerns, a primary care physician should be adequate. A general practitioner, family practitioner or internist will normally be capable of providing robust care.
If, on the other hand, you’re experiencing any physical, mental or emotional issues causing you to lean heavily on others for assistance, you’d likely profit from seeking out a geriatrician.
When the time comes to engage in this type of elder care, you’ll get access to a full team of medical professionals. Geriatricians work with nurses and social workers, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists and psychiatrists directing a broad spectrum of personalized care.
Geriatricians operate in a range of backdrops including:
To reiterate, there’s no precise formula outlining when you should look for dedicated geriatric care. Listen to what your body is telling you and don’t hesitate to ask for a referral to a specialist geriatrician.
What other doctors might be necessary as you enter your golden years?
As with all aspects of elder care, the type of specialists you might need to seek out will differ depending on your physical and mental health.
Here are 5 specialists who might enter your ambit depending on the extent of the problems you run into as you age:
Have you suffered from a heart attack?
Maybe you’ve had a stent inserted or you’ve got suspected heart disease.
If so, it’s crucial that you visit a cardiologist every 6 months.
Heart disease and heart failure are much more common in adults over 65s. As you get older, your heart won’t be able to beat as quickly during physical activity. Fatty deposits build up leading to clogged arteries over the years. If these arteries harden, you can develop arteriosclerosis.
If you are at an increased risk of all manner of heart issues, make sure you have a cardiologist on hand if you need one.
Diabetes is a serious disease affecting many older adults. In fact, diabetes along with prediabetes and complications brought about by the disease is one of the leading causes of illness in seniors.
On a day-to-day basis, your family doctor might be able to help you manage this condition. You would be well advised to seek out the advice of an endocrinologist at least once a year.
If you’re stricken by Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia, you might need specialized care. Effectively managing memory care falls outside the remit of a general practitioner.
If you’re still capable of living outside of a memory care facility but you need some extra help, a geriatrician might be beneficial.
In the event of more serious issues, memory care facilities normally provide the safest backdrop.
With a 1 in 3 chance of developing cancer, it’s not unlikely you’ll need the services of an oncologist at some stage of life.
The stakes are so high with this lethal disease that there’s no substitute for specialized advice and there’s no place for the ostrich approach. If you need suspected cancer attending to, don’t delay and visit an oncologist at your earliest opportunity.
The chance of bone disease as you age means there’s every possibility you’ll need treatment from an orthopedic doctor.
Whether it’s a fracture incurred from falling or osteoporosis, you might need to arrange specialist care in this area if your family doctor can’t help adequately.
Even with the most effective doctors in your corner, sometimes you just can’t manage alone. When the time is right to consider assisted living, senior living or memory care, get in touch with us here at Landmark Senior Living. We can help you with all aspects of elder care and we’ll happily arrange a free tour of one of our five senior living facilities.