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Geriatric Medicine: Enhancing Senior Health and Well-being

Team AckoJan 18, 2024

Geriatric Medicine, also known as geriatrics, is characterised by its holistic approach to senior care. It recognises that ageing affects not only the physical health but also the mental, emotional, and social well-being of individuals. By taking a comprehensive view of the ageing process, geriatricians aim to provide personalised and patient-centred care that addresses the unique needs and goals of each senior patient.




What is Geriatric Medicine?

Geriatric Medicine is a specialised branch of medicine that focuses on the healthcare needs of older adults. It is dedicated to promoting healthy ageing, preventing and managing age-related diseases, and improving the overall well-being and quality of life in the elderly population.

Geriatric Medicine (GM) recognises that older adults have unique healthcare requirements due to the physiological, cognitive, and functional changes that occur with ageing. This field of medicine encompasses a wide range of medical specialities, including internal medicine, primary care, neurology, psychiatry, and rehabilitation, among others. 

What is the importance of Geriatric Medicine?

Geriatric Medicine plays a vital role in addressing the unique healthcare needs of older adults and promoting healthy ageing. It is of utmost importance in addressing the unique healthcare needs of older adults. By providing specialised care, comprehensive assessments, multimorbidity management, preventive care, functional optimisation, cognitive health support, and end-of-life care, GM enhances the overall well-being, quality of life, and independence of older individuals, ultimately promoting healthy ageing.

What is the role of Geriatricians?

Geriatricians are physicians who specialise in the field of Geriatric Medicine. They undergo specialised training to gain expertise in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and conditions commonly seen in older adults. 

With their in-depth knowledge and experience, geriatricians are equipped to manage complex medical issues, coordinate care across different healthcare providers, and optimise the overall health and well-being of their senior patients.

What does Geriatric Medicine cover?

Here are some key areas that Geriatric Medicine covers.

  • Comprehensive Assessments: Geriatric Medicine emphasises conducting comprehensive assessments of older adults to evaluate their physical, cognitive, and functional capabilities. These assessments help identify any underlying health issues, risks, or areas of concern.

  • Chronic Disease Management: Older adults often have multiple chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases. GM involves the management of these conditions through medication management, lifestyle modifications, and preventive measures.

  • Medication Review: Geriatricians are trained to review and optimise medication regimens for older adults. They take into account factors such as potential drug interactions, side effects, and individual goals of care to ensure that medications are appropriate and effective.

  • Cognitive Health: Geriatric Medicine addresses cognitive health concerns, including memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. Geriatricians play a crucial role in the early diagnosis, treatment, and management of cognitive disorders, as well as providing support for patients and their caregivers.

  • Falls Prevention: Falls are a significant concern for older adults and can lead to serious injuries. GM focuses on identifying fall risks, implementing preventive measures, and recommending interventions to enhance balance, strength, and mobility.

  • Palliative and End-of-Life Care: Geriatricians are trained to provide compassionate care for older adults nearing the end of their lives. They offer support for managing symptoms, addressing emotional and spiritual needs, and facilitating discussions around advance care planning.

  • Mental Health: Geriatric Medicine recognises the importance of mental health in older adults. Geriatricians address issues such as depression, anxiety, and social isolation, providing appropriate assessments, counselling, and referrals to mental health specialists when needed.

  • Rehabilitation and Functional Improvement: Geriatric Medicine focuses on maximising functional abilities and independence in older adults. Geriatricians collaborate with rehabilitation professionals to develop personalised treatment plans aimed at improving mobility, strength, and overall physical function.

  • Care Coordination: Geriatricians often serve as a central point of contact and coordination for the healthcare needs of older adults. They work collaboratively with other healthcare providers and specialists to ensure continuity of care and effective communication among the healthcare team.

What is the difference between General Medicine and Geriatric Medicine?

General medicine and Geriatric Medicine differ in their focus and approach to healthcare. Here are the key differences between the two.

  • Patient Population: General Medicine, also known as internal medicine, focuses on providing primary care to adults of all ages, from young adults to the elderly. Geriatric Medicine, on the other hand, specifically specialises in the care of older adults, typically aged 65 and above.

  • Specialised Training: General Medicine physicians, known as internists, undergo training that covers a wide range of medical conditions across various adult age groups. Geriatricians, however, receive additional specialised training in the unique health issues, age-related diseases, and specific care needs of older adults.

  • Approach to Care: General Medicine physicians provide comprehensive care to patients, managing a variety of acute and chronic medical conditions. Geriatricians, on the other hand, take a holistic and multidimensional approach to care, considering the physical, cognitive, functional, and psychosocial aspects of health in older adults.

  • Multimorbidity: Older adults often have multiple chronic conditions, which can be complex to manage. GM focuses on addressing the unique challenges presented by multimorbidity, optimising treatment plans, and managing potential interactions between medications. General Medicine physicians also manage chronic conditions but may have a broader scope of practice across different age groups.

  • Age-related Conditions: Geriatric Medicine specifically addresses age-related conditions that are more prevalent among older adults, such as dementia, osteoporosis, falls, and frailty. Geriatricians have expertise in diagnosing, treating, and managing these conditions, tailoring care plans to the specific needs and goals of older patients. General Medicine physicians may encounter these conditions, but their specialised knowledge in geriatric-specific care may be limited.

  • Care Coordination: Geriatricians often play a crucial role in coordinating care for older adults, especially those with complex medical needs and multiple specialists involved. They collaborate with other healthcare providers and community resources to ensure integrated and patient-centred care. While General Medicine physicians also coordinate care, geriatricians have a deeper understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by older adults.

  • Geriatric Syndromes: Geriatric Medicine recognises and addresses geriatric syndromes, which are common conditions in older adults that may not fit into specific disease categories. These syndromes include falls, cognitive impairment, delirium, urinary incontinence, and functional decline. Geriatricians have specialised knowledge in managing these syndromes and improving the overall well-being and quality of life for older adults.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs about Geriatric Medicine.


What is the role of Geriatric Medicine in promoting healthy ageing?

GM plays a crucial role in promoting healthy ageing by addressing the unique medical, social, and emotional needs of older adults. It focuses on preventive measures, early detection of age-related diseases, and personalised care to enhance overall well-being.

When should someone consider seeking geriatric care?

Seniors should consider seeking geriatric care when they experience age-related health changes, have multiple chronic conditions, or require specialised expertise in managing their health. It is never too early to prioritise one's health and well-being as they age.

What are some benefits of consulting a geriatrician?

Consulting a geriatrician offers several benefits, including comprehensive assessments, personalised care plans, medication management, coordination of care with other specialists, and support for patients and their families in navigating the complexities of ageing.

How can Geriatric Medicine improve the quality of life for seniors?

Geriatric Medicine improves the quality of life for seniors by addressing their unique needs and goals. It focuses on managing chronic conditions, optimising physical and mental well-being, promoting independence, and enhancing social connectedness.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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