Why should you see a Geriatrician?
Swami Walks Again
Mr Swami ignored his balance problems as part of his ageing process. He found it difficult to get up from chair and turn around corners. He fell twice but didn’t injure himself. He became careful. Someone suggested him to use a cane and he did that. But he found that life was getting difficult and wanted to seek help. His son who works in Singapore came down one time to visit him and found that his father has become weak and unsteady. He took Mr Swami for a consult with a Geriatrician- Doctors who specializes in treatment and care of older adults. After detailed evaluation by the geriatric team, Mr Swami was found to weakness of his thighs, a condition called proximal myopathy due to an undiagnosed hypothyroid state. Once he was put on Thyroid tablets and after undergoing an exercise regime by the geriatric team, Mr Swami is better and is more confident of going for walks.
Who is a Geriatrician ?
A geriatrician is a doctor who specializes in care of the elderly and the diseases that affect them. The approach tends to be holistic and involves a multidisciplinary team. The geriatrician concentrates on managing the medical conditions affecting the patient.
Geriatricians also tend to coordinate the team of allied health specialists like physiotherapists and occupational therapists that ensure the patient is in the best environment and are safe and supported in their social situation whatever that may be.
What essentially is a geriatric team?
A geriatric typically includes physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, psychologists, and sometimes a dentist, dietitian, physical and occupational therapists, or a palliative care or hospice physician. Team members have knowledge of geriatric medicine, familiarity with the patient, dedication to the team process, and good communication skills.
What are the conditions that a geriatrician can treat?
The geriatric team can treat the elder for
1. All chronic disease like Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, Bronchial Asthma, Heart diseases and kidney problems, Osteoarthritis and more.
2. Age related problems like memory issues, balance problems, problems of bladder, depression and many others.
Here are four signs that you may need a geriatrician.
1. You’re on multiple medications. More than a third of adults over age 62 are taking at least five prescription drugs. Over 60 percent use some type of herbal or dietary supplement. But the more meds you’re on, the more likely you are to experience side effects, have cognitive problems or even end up in the hospital. A geriatrician can review all your meds and determine which ones you really need and which you can shelve.
2. You’re having trouble with your memory. Almost 60 percent of people over age 65 with probable dementia are undiagnosed or unaware that they have it.
3. You’re less mobile. If you don’t feel as steady on your feet as you used to or are having trouble getting around, it’s a good idea to see a geriatrician who can assess your balance and gait. Falls are the leading cause of injuries and death from injuries among adults over age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). A geriatrician can also give you balance-strengthening exercises to do at home and/or prescribe a course of physical therapy, as well as send a physical therapist or occupational therapist to your home to do a fall-risk assessment. All these steps can help keep you independent — and in your home — longer.
4. You’re hospitalized. Research shows that older adults who get care from a geriatrician in the hospital do better once they’re discharged. People over age 65 who got a geriatric consult while hospitalized for a traumatic injury such as a broken rib, head injury or fracture were able to resume about two-thirds more of their daily activities (like shopping, walking across a room, managing finances and self-care) than those who didn’t.
Dr Rahuls Elder Care provides comprehensive geriatric consultation at our clinic and at patient's home. You can know more about the team at https://www.drrahulseldercare.com/our-team.