How do I find a geriatric doctor? Why aren’t there more?
A: While we are not medical care providers at Studinski Law, LLC, we often suggest to our clients that senior citizens see a geriatric doctor, a doctor with special training and expertise in treating older adults. All too often we have seen older adults go without appropriate care. Dr. David Reuben, President of the New York City based American Geriatric Society answered an important question in one of his recent articles. We have quoted a question and answer portion from that article below.
“Q: I’ve tried to find a geriatrician for my parents but haven’t had any luck. Why aren’t there more geriatricians? What should I do?
A: Today, there are fewer than 7,000 practicing geriatricians in the US. That’s about one geriatrician for every 5,000 adults over age 65. Finding a geriatrician is likely to become even more difficult over the next 20 years, as the nation’s 77 million Baby Boomers reach retirement age. To prepare for this ‘Aging Boom’ we need to support programs that both train geriatricians and better prepare all health care providers to care for older adults. Until recently, the federal government’s ‘Title VII’ geriatric health professions program did just that, by supporting geriatric education centers and young medical school faculty who trained medical students, primary care physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other providers to better meet the health care needs of older adults. Unfortunately, Congress eliminated all funding for this program in late 2005. We need to restore this funding – for the sake of all older Americans. For help finding a geriatrician contact the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging by calling 1-800-563-4916 or visiting the FHA website at http://www.healthinaging.org/. The Foundations offers a free referral service that helps people find geriatricians in their areas. ”
Again, we strongly urge senior citizens to consult with geriatricians who have great knowledge and experience that can be vital to the health and safety of older adults.