Posted by Gerald J. Turner –
We all have all encountered someone who doesn’t enjoy going to the doctor. Or even worse: someone who flat out refuses to go! Logic suggests that an important way for senior citizens to ensure that they are in good health and live a long time is for them to see a doctor.
Unfortunately, many elder Americans can be a bit stubborn and do not wish to visit doctors. Sometimes it’s because they are afraid of bad news, or they don’t want a doctor to tell them they’ll need to give up their vices like sweets or smoking. But in the end, all the stubbornness and grumbling in the world doesn’t do anybody any good. Everyone gets older, and it only makes sense to accept this fact and move forward with as much common sense and education as possible.
While it is a good decision for a senior citizen to see a doctor, it is an even better one for them to visit either a Geriatrician or Gerontologist. A Geriatrician is a doctor who has advanced training in the ailments and diseases that affect senior citizens, while a Gerontologist is based in multidisciplinary science, and is concerned with the physical, mental, and social aspects and implications of aging.
Whether you decide to visit a Geriatrician or Gerontologist, you should be aware that they have specialized training in areas such as cognitive impairments, general frailty, and the management of medications. With regard to cognitive issues/mental decline, Geriatricians are explicitly trained to recognize the difference between the normal slowdown in cognitive processes that go along with aging and more serious problems, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Geriatricians are also experts in the concept of frailty, which general physicians may not take seriously. Frailty is an unfortunate byproduct of aging, wherein a person’s muscles and bones are not as strong as they were formerly. Frailty can have numerous adverse side effects, such as increasing the likelihood of a disastrous fall or osteoporosis.
Geriatricians are also educated in the interactions between the multiple medications that senior citizens often take. They are accustomed to having patients who require various medications and are less likely to see them as hypochondriacs or drug seekers as other physicians might.
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