What Goes into Geriatric Care?

Geriatric care is a much more complex and fascinating specialty than many people realize. When taking care of older adults, doctors must have a good idea of the needs and desires of their patients, of how to prevent and treat diseases common among the elderly, and of how to improve patient quality of life. In essence, geriatric care is involved in all aspects of an older adult’s life.

Dr. Tasha Boone and the rest of us at the Medical Place Family Practice in West Columbia, SC love working with older adults and their families to ensure they get the best care possible from our practice. We also want to make sure that everyone understands exactly what’s involved with geriatric care. 

What is geriatric care?

Geriatric care is how doctors refer to the specialty of taking care of older adult patients. Doctors who specifically focus on this type of treatment are called geriatricians. Dr. Boone is in the practice of family medicine, so although she is not specifically a geriatrician, she does deal with geriatric patients on a daily basis through her family practice.

The inside scoop on geriatric care

Many people think geriatric care is just focused on keeping older patients with illnesses alive and well. This is untrue. While certain illnesses, like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, stroke, and heart disease are more likely to set in during a person’s golden years, simply looking out for these illnesses is not the only aspect of geriatric care. 

Let us give you a breakdown of what geriatric care actually entails.

Preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases

Yes, this is a part of the care program. In fact, it is one of the reasons that recent studies have found doctors who work with geriatric patients are among some of the most satisfied physicians (American Medical Association). Elderly illnesses can be difficult to predict and prevent, so when a doctor is able to accomplish this, and the patient is healthier for it, the process is quite rewarding.

Assessing mental health

Physical health is not the only important aspect of a senior’s life. Signs of issues like depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses should be on the doctor’s mind, as well as the patient’s overall happiness and psychological and emotional wellness.

Improving quality of life

Doctors who provide geriatric care should also provide their patients with improved quality of life. This can mean more independence, better overall wellness, and more life satisfaction. Some patients may come to their doctors feeling stymied by the effects of aging, unable to do all they want to do. With a doctor’s help, more of an older person’s goals can be reached through geriatric care.

Working with families and caregivers

Similarly to how family medicine works in the case of pediatric patients, geriatric patients often need advocates in the form of caregivers or family members who can help determine what they need, convey this information to the doctor, and give them the care or at least the support they require. This also means the doctor providing geriatric care will be expected to work with those family members and caregivers to help provide the patient with the ultimate goal of a better, fuller life.

Creating a living plan

If the patient is unable to live on their own, doctors offering geriatric care can sometimes be involved in planning or even offering full care and living situations. This can entail working with family members and caregivers to coordinate with assisted living facilities and nursing homes, as well as making sure the patient is comfortable with any arrangements made on their behalf.

Do I need geriatric care?

If you are older than 65 with a family history of illness or dementia, or if you already suffer from severe illnesses, it might be time to seek geriatric care, especially if you have not been to the doctor in a while.

Call 803-791-5680 to set up an appointment with Dr. Boone, or you can request an appointment online. Geratric care is just one of the options we offer at The Medical Place Family Practice. 

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