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Socrates A. Garrigos, MD, PA

What to Look for in Geriatric Care

Oct 06, 2023
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Geriatric medicine aims to give aging adults the specialized care they need to improve or maintain their health, independence, and quality of life as the years go by. Here’s what you should consider when looking for a geriatric care provider.

When kids are growing up, their parents take them to the pediatrician for routine well-child checkups, developmental screenings, and the occasional sick visit. Why? Children’s healthcare needs differ from adult needs in many ways, and they require specialized care from a provider who understands those specific needs. 

Likewise, older adults in their seventies, eighties, and beyond have different medical and health care needs compared to middle-aged adults in their forties, fifties, and early sixties. 

As a board-certified internal medicine physician who specializes in geriatric care, Dr. Socrates Garrigos and our skilled team at Socrates A. Garrigos, MD, PA, in McAllen, Texas, are here to help our adult patients thrive through every stage of life, including older age. Here’s what you should consider when looking for a geriatric care provider.    

Adults’ changing health care needs 

Many older adults experience age-related changes that influence the nature, number, and severity of their health conditions and how those medical problems interact. These changes are different from what middle-aged adults typically experience.

Many older adults are affected by several chronic diseases and health conditions at one time. It’s not unusual for an aging adult in the United States to be living with at least two — and quite often more — of the following medical problems:

  • Diabetes; cardiovascular disease; high blood pressure
  • Cognitive decline; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer; osteoporosis; chronic lung or kidney disease 
  • Depression or anxiety; persistent urinary incontinence
  • Hearing and/or vision loss; falls and balance issues

Aside from dealing with multiple physical and mental conditions, many older patients find it challenging to coordinate their health care needs — and are confused or stressed about how to cover their medical costs. 

Finding the best geriatric care provider 

Geriatric medicine aims to give aging adults the specialized care they need to improve or maintain their health, independence, and quality of life as the years go by. This kind of care typically means providing support for aging adults who are:

  • Trying to manage multiple chronic health conditions
  • Affected by age-related illness (dementia, osteoporosis)
  • Experiencing physical frailty and/or cognitive decline
  • Having trouble functioning independently in daily life 
  • Finding it difficult to manage complex treatment plans  

As a subspeciality of primary care medicine, geriatric care is specialized, comprehensive, coordinated, and fully personalized. These features also happen to be the same qualities you should look for when searching for a geriatric care provider: 

1. Specialized training 

A geriatric physician — also known as a geriatrician — has specialized knowledge, training, and skills that enable them to meet older adults’ evolving and often complex health needs with expertise, care, compassion, and personal consideration. 

 As a chronic disease management expert specializing in geriatric care, Dr. Garrigos distinguishes between typical, age-related changes and changes caused by disease.

2. Comprehensive care

Effective geriatric care is inherently comprehensive or all-encompassing. On any given day, Dr. Garrigos may evaluate new symptoms (provide diagnostic care), treat existing conditions (provide therapeutic care), conduct health screenings (provide preventive care), or take steps to help improve a chronic health problem (provide rehabilitative care). 

Medication management, mental wellness, and physical functioning are key areas of focus in geriatric medicine — virtually all aspects of elder care fall under one of these three areas. 

3. A coordinated approach

Like all primary care providers, geriatric care doctors inform and educate patients, guide their treatment choices, and coordinate overall care with other physicians and regular care providers. Geriatric care is a multidisciplinary team effort, one that often involves a range of specialists, such as:  

  • Cardiologists 
  • Neurologists 
  • Pulmonologists  
  • Podiatrists 
  • Ophthalmologists 

Geriatric care team members may often include physical therapists, psychiatrists, social workers, and pharmacists. One of the main objectives of your geriatrician is to ensure open and seamless communication between you, your family, and all members of your care team.   

4. Personal consideration

Geriatric care is synonymous with patient-centered care; it places you — and your values and preferences — at the heart of its treatment approach. Whether considering your health goals, streamlining your medication regimen, strategizing to improve your quality of life, or discussing palliative care, your needs and wishes always come first. 

Patient-centered geriatric care experts

Whether considering geriatric care for yourself or your aging parents, Dr. Garrigos and our seasoned team at Socrates A. Garrigos, MD, PA, are here to help. Call us today, or use our online booking feature to schedule a visit at our office in McAllen, Texas, any time.