Today, there is about one geriatrician for every 2,699 Americans aged 75 and older. By 2030, the American Geriatrics Society estimates that while the population of older adults will have doubled to 70 million, the proportion of geriatricians will have dropped to a massive shortage of only one geriatrician per 5,549 American seniors.
Why are geriatricians important? A geriatrician is a primary care physician who is specially trained with the knowledge and skills to care for the complex health needs of older adults who often have multiple chronic conditions and take multiple medications. Because illnesses, diseases and medications may affect seniors differently than younger adults, a geriatrician trained in managing these unique healthcare needs is well positioned to provide superior care for seniors.
Without this special training, many health professionals misdiagnose, overlook, or dismiss illnesses in seniors as the “normal process of aging.” This can cause not only unnecessary suffering for the seniors, but also causes unnecessary hospital stays.
Why aren’t there enough geriatricians? Physicians in internal or family medicine earn significantly less money than other specialties, have less predictable work schedules and require more schooling, which leads to greater debt from school loans. With the average school debt for physicians being upwards of $158,000, it isn’t hard to see why salary expectations can have a strong influence over what specialty is chosen.
Live Free Home Health Care in Concord, New Hampshire encourages seniors and their families to arm themselves with information about their health conditions and medications. Whether or not your physician is a geriatrician, it is important to arrive at doctors’ appointments prepared with questions. Live Free Home Health Care can schedule and provide transportation to and from doctors’ appointments as well as work seamlessly with healthcare providers on a senior’s specific plan of care. To schedule a free in-home assessment or learn more about our home care services, contact us today.