- What is a Geriatrician?
- a) an older doctor;
- b) an electrical worker who makes haphazard repairs ("gerry-rigged");
- c) a doctor who risks a lousy Christmas by tugging on St. Nick's beard; or
- d) a physician who specializes in treating older people.
If you answered 'd,' then you are correct!
In my previous post I shared the KSTP television video, "Aging: A Family Affair." In the report, one woman's physician, Dr. Tom Von Sternberg, was introduced as a geriatrician. It occurred to me that few of us have regular contact with this medical specialty, so I thought I'd provide some background.
A geriatrician is a physician who has completed a residency in either Internal Medicine or Family Medicine with an additional one or two year fellowship focusing on the medical, social, and psychological issues that concern older adults. (Source: Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging; University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences)
To distinguish, geriatricians are not the same as gerontologists. Gerontologists are scholars who focus on aging research. And while some geriatricians are also gerontologists, gerontologists are usually not physicians.
Although I haven't had a client experience difficulty finding one, I have heard that there are not enough geriatricians to serve the growing numbers of older patients. Have you or someone you care for been treated by a doctor who specializes in older people's health concerns? Have you had trouble locating a geriatrician? Please write back or comment.