When you were little, your parents took you to the pediatrician who comforted you, while treating those sniffles and ailments while holding your hand — and sometimes momma’s — while you got those shots. They often softened the blow of pricks with lollipops and character stickers. Specializing on the body and mind from 0-18, these doctors helped guide you into being healthy adults. But, what happens when you reach your golden years and new ailments, questions and health needs arise? Welcome the geriatrician.
According to John Hopkins Medical, “geriatricians are primary care doctors who have additional specialized training in treating older patients.” When we enter our 60s and beyond, our medical concerns and questions may change, so seeing a specialist who can care for these questions is important. The American Geriatrics Society reports that about 30% of people over age 65 need one.
So, how do you decide if you need to consult with a geriatrician? The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) suggests that if you are experiencing or dealing with the following that you may want to consult with a geriatrician.
1 When you are taking multiple medications
2 You may be having trouble with your memory
3 Your are less mobile than before
4 You become hospitalized
If you have decided that seeing a geriatrician is the right choice for your medical needs, John Hopkins Medical lends some tips on how to pick the right geriatrician for you.
INQUIRE ON THEIR TRAINING
Have they received special certifications or training? What academic medical center are they associated with?
ARE THEY ACCESSIBLE
Do they accept your insurance? Are they available to you after hours and is their office easy to get to?
COMFORT IN COMMUNICATION
Are they open to speaking to your other specialists such as your cardiologists, pulmonologists and neurologists. In addition, are they willing to communicate to you via how your are comfortable, i.e, phone calls, electronic portals or face-to-face meetings?
Make sure that you and your geriatrician are on the same page when it comes to your overall health goals, keeping in mind that those goals may change over time.
BY NICOLE IRVING