As you age, your physical and mental health will decline. This causes the elderly (elderly), namely people aged over 60 years, to be more susceptible to disease. If they are sick, the elderly are advised to consult a geriatric doctor.
Geriatric doctors are specialists who treat various health complaints experienced by the elderly. Geriatric doctors are tasked with helping the elderly maintain their health, in order to minimize the risk of developing aging diseases. Geriatric doctors are also responsible for dealing with various health problems suffered by the elderly, both physical and mental health.
Various Conditions Treated by Geriatric Doctors
Conditions in the elderly treated by geriatric doctors include:
1. Diseases related to decreased body function
There are various types of diseases that often occur in the elderly, ranging from inflammation of the bones and joints or osteoarthritis, heart disease, cancer, senile disease (such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease), bone loss or osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, to stroke.
2. Decreased ability to move (immobilization)
The decrease in the ability to move or immobilize, as well as sarcopenia, make the elderly need the role of a geriatric doctor to improve their quality of life. Geriatric doctors will help elderly patients to be able to stand, walk, move their bodies, and perform activities in a safe way.
3. Cognitive disorders
Cognitive impairment in the elderly is sometimes unavoidable. This cognitive impairment can be caused by a disease, side effects of drugs, or hormonal and metabolic disorders.
4. Side effects of taking certain drugs
Geriatric doctors are tasked with recognizing the side effects and interactions of drugs consumed by the elderly. This is because with age, body functions and metabolism tend to decrease, so the elderly can be more sensitive to the effects of drugs.
Medications or Treatments that Geriatric Doctors Can Do
Before determining treatment or care for elderly patients, geriatric doctors will generally evaluate the patient's health condition first. From the results of this evaluation, the geriatric doctor will work with other medical teams to determine the right treatment or care, so that the quality of life of elderly patients is better.
The medical team that is usually involved in the care or treatment of the elderly are medical rehabilitation specialists, nutrition specialists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and nurses.
Treatment or care that is generally given by geriatric doctors with the medical team are:
Physical therapy or physiotherapy
Geriatric doctors will recommend elderly patients to undergo physiotherapy to improve and maintain flexibility, balance, and movement abilities. Physiotherapy is usually given to elderly patients suffering from arthritis, stroke, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.
In collaboration with psychiatrists and psychologists, geriatric doctors will work to improve the mental health of elderly patients. This is because decreased health, limited body functions, and stress can reduce the mental health of the elderly.
Certain medical conditions can cause the elderly to take large amounts of the drug. To minimize the side effects of consuming too many drugs, geriatric doctors can re-evaluate the drugs consumed by the elderly, as well as sort out which drugs need to be taken and not.
When to Visit a Geriatric Doctor?
Although there is no age standard, people over the age of 60 are advised to see a geriatrician if:
- Have certain medical conditions, such as arthritis, heart disease, asthma, bronchitis, Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, pneumonia, injury, or obesity.
- Have a weak physical condition or have decreased body functions.
- Taking several types of drugs.
- Experiencing nutritional problems, including weight loss for no apparent reason.
- Having difficulty in carrying out daily activities.
- Requires long-term health rehabilitation.
What to Prepare Before Meeting a Geriatric Doctor?
Before visiting a geriatric doctor, you must prepare a doctor's referral letter in advance so that the geriatric doctor knows what care or treatment needs to be given.
The referral letter usually includes a detailed medical history of the patient and the therapy needed to maintain or improve the patient's quality of life.
Living in old age, you are encouraged to always adopt a healthy lifestyle, in order to minimize the risk of developing various diseases. The recommended healthy lifestyle for the elderly is to maintain weight, eat food according to the doctor's recommendations, and regularly do light exercise to keep the body in shape.