If you have a medical problem, you should visit a doctor that understands it. This is why specialists like dermatologists and allergists exist. When you get older, you might need a specialist of your own, and geriatricians are experts in the field of senior medicine.
Casa de Salud in Los Angeles, California, is staffed with providers who are experienced in every stage of life, from prenatal care to geriatrics. Our physician, Dr. Afshin Akhavan, works directly with senior patients to make sure that their needs are addressed with the respect and care they deserve.
So what are geriatricians, and what can they offer?
What are geriatricians?
Geriatricians are primary care physicians that focus on conditions and issues common among older people. There are more than 6,900 geriatricians in the United States, and all of them are trained to handle general health problems, along with those specific to seniors.
It can be difficult to know when to start considering a geriatrician. Everyone ages differently, and one person might need specialized care earlier than another. However, everyone ages, and a geriatrician can help you with the unique issues that come with getting older.
Why should I consider one?
If you feel like your primary care physician is misunderstanding your needs, or you just want to make sure that your care is tailored to your age range, you might have already thought about changing from your regular doctor to a geriatric specialist. However, if you're unsure about making the switch, here are five reasons to consider visiting a geriatrician.
1. You're taking multiple medications.
Medicine has made it easier to treat issues as we get older, but some drugs affect seniors differently than younger people. A geriatrician understands this and knows how to identify interactions and side effects in older adults.
2. You need a caregiver.
There's nothing wrong with needing help, but good helpers can be hard to find. A geriatrician can teach family members what they need to know about your unique needs or assist you in finding outside help from a home aide or care manager.
3. You're having trouble moving or completing daily tasks.
Geriatricians are experienced in issues caused by frailty. They can put plans in place in the event that you fall or injure yourself. They can also help recommend products or routines that will make daily tasks safer and easier for you.
4. You have multiple medical problems.
While a typical primary care provider is capable of dealing with heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other conditions, older adults tend to experience more than one of these at a time, and their age plays a part in their treatment. Geriatricians can help you build a treatment plan that accounts for everything at once.
5. You're experiencing mental decline.
While cognitive ability tends to decrease slightly as we get older, any amount of mental decline should be taken seriously and discussed with your doctor. Geriatricians are trained to recognize signs of depression, dementia, and other neurological conditions, and they can provide the care you need to move forward.
How do I choose a geriatrician?
Your geriatrician should be an experienced doctor you can trust. A consultation can give you a chance to get to know them and their practice, and to discuss what kind of treatment you will need moving forward.
You can learn more about geriatrics and the benefits of senior care by consulting with Dr. Akhavan. To get in touch with our team at Casa de Salud, call the location closest to you or book an appointment online.