Geriatrics is the subspecialty of internal medicine concerned with the health and well-being of older adults. Geriatricians also study conditions specific to aging, including geriatric assessment and rehabilitation, preventive medicine, management of patients in long-term care settings, and psycho-social, ethical, legal, and economic issues pertinent to geriatric patients.
Geriatricians diagnose, treat and manage diseases and conditions that require a special approach when dealing with older adults. They give special attention to situations of special concern, including falls, incontinence, preoperative assessment and post-operative management, cerebrovascular disease, dementia, sensory impairment and other cognitive and affective changes that occur with aging.
Geriatricians often become the primary physician for older adults. If this is not the case, your primary physician might refer you to a geriatrician when a problem associated with aging requires special attention. In some cases, a family member might recognize a need for a geriatrician and suggest you consult one.
If geriatricians are not serving as your primary care physician, they often work with other physicians, advising them about a specific diagnosis or treatment plan. More often, geriatricians act as primary care physicians, relying on many skilled professionals and other subspecialists of internal medicine, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, pharmacists, and social workers.