Health & Wellness

Should You Switch to a Geriatrician?

geriatrician doctor careApproximately one in five Americans are over the age of 65, and that number is quickly growing. As baby boomers reach retirement, many decide to make the move from a primary care physician to a geriatrician – primary care doctors who have special training in offering health care to seniors.

The health care needs of people change as they age, and many begin to experience new medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, renal failure, or heart disease. Some inevitable signs of aging take place over time, such as a slower metabolism, and lead to a decline in physical activity. Some medical conditions appear suddenly, such as a stroke or heart attack, and require immediate intervention. These factors are some of the reasons people may seek the advice of a geriatric physician.

Geriatric physicians are especially attuned to the unique health needs of seniors. For example, as motor skills decline, seniors carry an increased risk of injury due to falls. To reduce those risks, a geriatrician may refer a patient to physical or occupational therapy. Geriatricians are trained to recognize the signs that a person may need assistance with one or more aspects of daily living – such as bathing, cooking, or medication management. They can then make recommendations for home care services, allowing their patients to live independently with a goal of ensuring that each patient experience the maximum quality of life possible.

Another area of a geriatrician’s expertise involves medication management. Elderly people respond differently to medication than younger patients, and the doctor can offer insight into drug interactions and side effects unique to seniors.

The aging process also affects the mental state, and geriatric physicians are familiar with various cognitive conditions such memory loss, dementia, and depression, that come with age. Because of this, geriatricians can be great resources to families who may need referrals to social workers or other outside agencies for their elderly loved ones.

If you think you might benefit from visiting a geriatrician, check with your insurance to inquire about doctors in your area, or contact your primary care doctor to request a referral.

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5 years ago

I’ve pretty much given up on doctors; I think that once you are on Medicare, forget prevention — the only things they are willing to do is pills, surgery, chemo, etc. Be proactive, educate yourself, be proactive.

Dan W.
5 years ago
Reply to  Darlene

Agreed. Medicare comes up short on preventive care (various preventive services were the only things that Obamacare covered better than Medicare).

Medicare Part B does cover a few basic tests, an annual flu shot, and the two separate pneumonia shots with no deductible or coinsurance but if you want to get an annual physical, you have to pay the full amount yourself.

5 years ago

Just to find THEE right doctor, who cares about you as a person would be sufficient – I have not found one yet!! Mostly offered is a prescription to numb mind & body – and you’re good to go. When I could have had the right physician, I had to leave because the new insurance did not do business with this particular physician. It just takes a good physician who cares about YOU.

Maria Rose
5 years ago

I thought that going to a primary care physician who is an Internist is similar or is a Geriactician a more specialized doctor. If so, coverage cost to see this type of doctor ( however ideal) would fall into seeing a specialist coverage and be more out of pocket costs to us. They already limit costs just to see primary doctors. Insurers want to cover bare minimum and push all costs to us.

Dan W.
5 years ago
Reply to  Maria Rose

A Geriatrician is a specialized primary care physician for older people who have multiple or complex medical issues. If the Geriatrician participates in Medicare and the patient is 65 or older and has signed up for Medicare coverage, the Geriatrician will accept what Medicare allows as payment for their services.

The patient still must satisfy their annual Medicare Part B deductible ($183 in 2017) which applies to physician and out-patient services and a 20% coinsurance on the amount that Medicare allows.

Note that many Medicare patients purchase a Medicare Supp. (Medigap) policy from a private insurer which could pay some or all of their Medicare Part B deductible and 20% coinsurance depending upon which Medicare Supp. plan they purchase.

Barbara Dunn
5 years ago
Reply to  Dan W.

I am going to look for a geriatrician!

5 years ago

Is there any medicare insurance that covers homeopathic treatments? I don’t take any RX and I never get to use my insurance because I never reach the high deductible of $5000.

Maria Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Ann

They keep talking about coverage but I never see anything noted. Big Pharma doesn’t like the competition.

Dan W.
5 years ago
Reply to  Ann

Neither Medicare Parts A or B nor a Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plan pays anything toward the cost of homeopathic care.

In order for Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or a Medicare Part C plan to provide coverage, the care must meet two basic requirements:

1) The care must be “medically necessary.” This means that it must be ordered or prescribed by a licensed physician or other authorized medical provider, and that Medicare (or a Medicare Part C plan) agrees that the care is necessary and proper.

2) The care must be performed or delivered by a healthcare provider who participates in Medicare.

5 years ago
Reply to  Ann

Hi Ann, I haven’t trusted ANY MD since I had kidney stones two years running, after the 2nd attack he proceeded to inform me that because I had high uric acid that not only would I continue to have kidney stones, I would also get gout. He then proceeded to tell me that I would have to change my eating habits and wrote me out a Rx, I then asked how long would I have to take this Rx, and he answered, probably the rest of my life. And I said to myself, no way was I going to put these chemicals into my body with who knows what side effects for the rest of my life. I knew people with gout and knew that I didn’t want that, but I also knew they got relief from eating cherries. I never filled his Rx and went to a natural foods store and bought tart cherry in pill form. A 90 capsule bottle, 1000 mg, that I took once a day that lasted me for 3 months. And guess what? Not only did I have no more kidney stones, I have never gotten gout. And a bonus side effect, the arthritic pain I started to feel in both my knees disappeared and has never come back. Now I have discovered Electro Magnetic Therapy, the censors here won’t let me name the mfg, but I feel fabulous overall physically, with more energy, sleeping better and longer, between bathroom visits. I say to heck with these medical drug pushers, natural is the way to go!!!

5 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Oh, and I forgot to mention, that was 20 years ago and MY MD got angry with me when I told him I never filled his Rx. He dropped me as a patient since I stopped going to him anyways.

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