When should I see a geriatric specialist?

If you’re at a certain age, it’s important to prepare for your twilight years. Preparing for the challenges aging may bring doesn’t need to be full of uncomfortable and sad conversations. When you prepare early, it’s freeing to define your goals, and your family feels at ease knowing your own desires for the future. If you want to live your best life as you age, you may be asking yourself: do I need to see a geriatric specialist (aka geriatrician)? And, when exactly should I start visiting one?

What is a geriatric specialist?

A geriatric specialist is a fully-trained and qualified medical doctor that has further training and expertise in issues related to aging. Healthline.com explains that, “After graduating from medical school, completing residency requirements, and becoming state-licensed to practice medicine, doctors who want to specialize in geriatric medicine must become board-certified in internal medicine or family medicine. They must also complete a geriatric medicine fellowship at an accredited facility and pass the Geriatric Medicine Certification Examination.”

After dedicating so much time, energy, and study to the issues that face the aging population, these specialists are able to advise and comfort you through the many concerns aging brings. They’re keenly aware of their your particular needs in this life stage, and they treat you with dignity and respect.

What do they diagnose?

Geriatric specialists often diagnosis and treat a plethora of conditions related to aging such as:

  • diabetes
  • insomnia
  • dementia
  • incontinence
  • cancer
  • frailty
  • depression
  • heart failure
  • mobility issues

Furthermore, a geriatrician is an integral part of your care team, helping track your medications and various health conditions. They’re able to confer with your primary doctor and other specialists. According to the AARP, “Most geriatricians work in centers and have a team-based approach; for example, besides meeting with the doctor, you’ll see a social worker, hearing specialist, nutritionist, and even physical or occupational therapists in the same visit. You’ll still see your primary care physician for day-to-day matters, like blood pressure checks or visits when you’re sick.”

Making an appointment

You can book an appointment with a geriatric specialist at the first sign of a physical or cognitive issue. However, Torrance Memorial encourages anyone age 65 to start geriatrician meetings. While aging brings up factors that can’t always be neatly planned ahead for, it’s important to have some semblance of a plan in place for life’s ‘what if’ scenarios.

Making goals

Your specialist will also help you pinpoint goals: do you wish to stay in your own home? Do you want to move to an active retirement facility? Do you have a nursing facility picked out in case you can’t live independently? Your geriatric specialist will help you take steps to achieve your goals — and even help prevent some ailments.

These appointments can also help spark conversations within your own family that may seem uncomfortable. In planning for this stage of your life, your spouse, children, and/or other caregivers really should understand your wishes and expectations for aging. (For example: can caregivers visit your home if you need assistance with daily activities after a dementia diagnosis?) These planning sessions and resulting conversations will give you all peace of mind.

Can you really stay independent?

It’s definitely possible to stay independent and active in the dynamic and gorgeous Palos Verdes Peninsula area with a little help. (Because, where else would you rather be?) Whether you need assistance with live-in, part-time or respite care, and/or regular transportation, A Peaceful Way Home Care is here to serve your needs. Give us a call so we can explore your best options in your golden years.