Geriatric syndromes are a set of complex healthcare conditions that are more common in elders. Such symptoms are complex because they can affect more than one body system at a time, are commonly caused by many factors, leading to other medical problems. Geriatricians are the doctors who can understand the unique health problems seniors face. Learn more about how these doctors can help you!
Who Are Geriatricians?
Geriatricians are physicians who specialize in elder care, helping their patients to preserve functional capacity, enabling them to live their lives as fully as possible within the realm of chronic disease.
Why are they important?
Let's consider an example. An older adult complains of urinary incontinence. At first glance, this may seem normal and at times ignored by seniors as simply a part of aging. However, in an older adult, this symptom can indicate something more serious, such as a urinary tract infection, bladder cancer, diabetes, or a neurological problem, is going on. What begins as something seemingly innocuous can quickly progress to confusion, insomnia, or a fall. If Mom or Dad is taking a medicine to thin their blood, such as Coumadin or Plavix, a fall can become a medical emergency.
In this example, a geriatrician may dig deeper to find out if urinary incontinence is a symptom of a non-age-related illness, rather than assuming it's due to age.
How Geriatricians Benefit Your Health
Geriatric Syndromes: This term commonly refers to a set of complex healthcare conditions, such as urinary incontinence, insomnia, delirium, or balance problems, that are more common in older adults. These symptoms are generally caused by many factors and can affect more than one body system at a time.
Polypharmacy: This term refers to multiple medications interacting with each other. Older adults take more medications than any other age group; unfortunately, drug interactions are a common cause for hospital admission. Geriatricians are sensitive to the special needs of elders, taking great care to prescribe medications judiciously, even avoiding some medicines altogether.
Activities of Daily Living: Geriatricians consider the whole patient, not only their medical condition, focusing on an individual's ability to perform daily functional activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: Geriatricians and their team work together, focusing on their patients' social and psychological well-being. This also includes the ability to take medications as prescribed, prepare a grocery list and shop for meals.
Physical Activity and Fitness: Some elders need help performing daily tasks, such as bathing and dressing. Others only need a little direction, suggestions on what type of exercise they can safely engage in! Geriatricians educate their patients, providing each with an individualized physical fitness plan, preventing falls and injuries.
Prevention: Preventing disease is better for patients and more cost-effective for hospitals. Geriatricians help their patients stay ahead of the curve, providing flu shots and preventative healthcare tips to improve their patients overall well-being.
Aging Life Care Advocate: Geriatric care management is a holistic, patient-centered approach, helping to care for older adults and their families facing ongoing health challenges. Geriatricians often work with a team of aging life care specialists, guiding patients and their families to make the best decisions, ensuring quality care and optimal life for those they love.
Establishing care with a geriatrician helps keep older adults healthy through the golden years. Caring Senior Service has the experience, compassion, and training necessary for comprehensive home care, and we also offer a wide range of home care services that are all designed to make life easier for seniors and their families. To learn more about the services we provide, contact us today!