19 May, 2019
We all know that infants and their issues are different, and hence, for our kids and grandkids, we seek out pediatricians or neonatal specialists. We do this because we understand that these people are specially trained to understand and cater to the needs of the infants and kids. However, it is not yet common among Indians to seek out a Geriatric specialist for any of their issues. In the Western world, most of the older population visit a Geriatrician, for regular visits. However, in India, this is still a new concept, and we mostly visit a family physician, or the concerned specialist like an orthopedic, diabetologist, cardiologist, etc.
The fact is that just like the needs of the infants and kids are different, so is the case of seniors. The issues of the seniors can be unique, and it would need a holistic approach to solve even a straightforward problem related to a specific body part. Often, the problem could be a result of a few other issues, and diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, mental and physical health, etc. may be linked to the problem. Hence, while a specialist may treat the problem, other issues related to it may go unaddressed. This is where the Geriatricians come in, with a holistic approach to senior health issues.
Who is a Geriatrician?
A Geriatrician is a senior care specialist, trained to assess, diagnose, and manage the specialized needs of the senior citizens. This is especially true for those cases, where the people may be dealing with multiple issues, each linked to the other. The Geriatrician usually works with a team of dieticians, physiotherapists, and more, to so ensure a multipronged approach to ensure the management of the issues identified.
They are specially trained to handle the chronic ailments much better, and they work in tandem with the other specialists to make sure that the geriatric needs are addressed in the right way. Apart from the issue at hand, they also concentrate on the overall mental and physical health and try their level best to provide the seniors with a life of dignity with functional independence.
What would a Geriatrician do?
When you first start a Geriatric consultation, you may be put through a comprehensive assessment, depending on your age, issues, family and medical history, current medications, etc. It covers even your vision issues, hearing problems, dental issues, and more.
You may have to discuss your daily routine with the Geriatrician, who would like to understand even your slightest of difficulties. If you have a problem sleeping, or remembering things, or keep having recurrent falls, or digestive issues, or taste issues, etc. these may be further evaluated. Pain management in case of any arthritis or other chronic illnesses or cancer treatment also is taken into account. In short, they talk to you to figure out every possible geriatric syndrome, which can indicate many underlying causes or are indicators leading to potential Geriatric problems. This helps them to catch issues early on and treat them or prevent further damage. Sometimes, these things can turn out to be lifesavers.
How does it benefit a senior?
As mentioned above, a Geriatrician always works with a team of people, which could also include psychiatrists and other specialists. They coordinate with their team to ensure that every problem of yours is addressed wholly and fully. This would mean that you can rest assured of the best care and that there is someone who will look into all aspects for you. You may have to run around by hunting for specialists otherwise individually.
The teamwork here helps a senior also to understand the problems better as a Geriatrician is also able to explain the big picture better. This is always good as otherwise, most seniors are anxious about their problems, as they do not understand the why and what of it. When putting across by a Geriatrician, these things make more sense, as they can relate better to the issues and not just concentrate on the issue on hand. Perhaps, it’s time to visit a Geriatrician, if you are a bit worried and hesitant about your issues, and fear that you are having some problems that are linked to each other, especially. In any case, with long term, all-round care being provided, perhaps, it is good to have a regular Geriatric visit, just to ensure that you have things under control.
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