Chances are you have a doctor you like. Maybe you’ve had the same doctor for a decade, or perhaps even longer. That doctor has likely helped guide you through a number of health concerns and they have your complete trust.
However, as you age, your health needs change. From conditions like heart disease to vision loss to cognitive decline, you may require assistance from a doctor with specialized training in the needs of seniors.
Health Factors For Seniors
Suppose for a second you suffer a broken wrist. You see a doctor, they take x-rays, put you in a cast and wait for it to heal. But what if a broken wrist is more than a broken wrist? What if you’re beginning to suffer the effects of osteoporosis? The cast will protect your broken wrist in the moment, but it doesn’t help treat the underlying issue that still leaves you at risk for future injuries.
Geriatricians are trained to understand the unique needs and risk factors inherent to seniors. A geriatrician can help spot underlying issues, or understand how aging and lifestyle choices affect health in our senior years.
In addition, with seniors often needing to take multiple medications at a time, geriatricians can help ensure they work together well, or intervene if they don’t.
Furthermore, geriatricians are trained to test for signs of cognitive decline, and thus begin courses of treatment as soon as possible.
Time to See a Geriatrician?
How do you know when it’s time to seek specialized care? If you’re in good health, and work with a primary care doctor you trust, then there may not be a reason to seek out a geriatrician quite yet.
However, you might want to consider making the move if you fall into any of these categories:
- Dealing with multiple medical conditions at once
- Treatments for your conditions negatively affecting each other
- Juggling multiple medications at once
- Early signs of dementia
You can start with a conversation with your primary care doctor – he or she can help determine the point at which you might be well served to see a geriatrician. It could be that your condition requires a specialist in that specific area, rather than a geriatrician. It could be that your primary care doctor can work with you.
It’s also important to be open-minded – your doctor might make the suggestion if he or she feels that’s the best step for you.
In either event it’s important to keep the lines of communication open and honest.
As is the case with geriatricians, there is a field of dentistry with specialists caring for the unique needs of seniors, and there may come a time when you will need to seek their services.
For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of adults 65 and over have gum disease, and 20% of people over 65 have lost all (yes, all) of their teeth. Even worse, oral cancer is most prevalent among older adults. It’s critical to maintain regular dental appointments to prevent your oral health from deteriorating.
Of course, dentures are a common need for seniors. If you haven’t reached the point of needing dentures yet, it’s important to maintain strong teeth for as long as possible – seniors who have missing teeth or dentures often struggle to eat crunchy food, like vegetables. Moving away from those healthy foods to avoid pain or discomfort can lead to poor nutrition, which can then cause a host of new issues.
If you do have dentures, or will need them, dentists specializing in the oral care needs of seniors can help mitigate those concerns and give practical advice on eating properly with dentures.
Prestige Works For You
At Prestige Senior Living, the health and wellness of our residents is our top priority. It informs everything we do, every day.
Through our wellness-focused lifestyle program, Celebrations, and our award-winning memory care program, Expressions, we strive to nurture the minds, bodies, and spirits of our residents. In that vein, our team gets to know each of our residents so that we can support their continued health and achieve active aging.
Each Prestige community employs a Health Services Director (HSD), who works with our residents and their families on specific care needs and risk factors. Our HSDs help ensure medications are distributed correctly, medical appointments are booked and facilitate access to specialists.
Our team is also available to arrange transportation for our residents to their appointments and help scheduling appointments to ensure all their needs are tended to. We work closely with our residents and their care providers to tailor an individual approach to their health.
If you have questions about our policies, or would like to inquire as to how we can assist you or a loved one, reach out to the community nearest you, and our staff will be happy to speak with you.