Older adults require a unique level of healthcare due to age-related changes that make them susceptible to various health issues. At Nirvana Healthcare Management Services, our team of geriatric specialists is here to make sure older patients get the care and attention they deserve. As trained primary care doctors and nurse practitioners, we offer a comprehensive, collaborative, patient-centered approach to help geriatric patients take control of their physical and mental health.
About Geriatric Care
Geriatric medicine focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and disabilities in older adults. As people age, their bodies undergo numerous changes, making them more vulnerable to various health problems. This is where geriatric medicine comes in to help manage these changes and improve the quality of life for older adults.
As geriatric medicine specialists, we address the unique medical conditions that affect older adults by providing specialized care tailored to their needs. The scope of geriatric medicine includes the management of health concerns such as:
- Arthritis: This condition is joint pain and swelling that leads to stiffness, reduced mobility, and redness in older patients. Multiple medical conditions like this are common concerns in geriatric medicine for older adults.
- Chronic kidney disease: When the kidneys are dysfunctional, fluid builds up and may enter the bloodstream. This illness heightens the likelihood a person will experience kidney failure or heart disease. Managing chronic illnesses is an important part of specialized services in geriatric medicine.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): COPD comprises two conditions—chronic bronchitis and emphysema. People with this sickness exhibit coughing, chest pressure, and trouble with airflow and breathing. Doctors with specialized training in geriatric medicine help older patients make treatment choices for these chronic illnesses.
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: Dementia refers to symptoms of memory loss that can impact a patient’s daily living. It happens when brain cells associated with cognitive function become damaged. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. It typically starts with difficulty remembering new information and progresses to an inability to walk, talk, and swallow. Memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease are common concerns in geriatric medicine that require specialized services.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes struggle to produce insulin, a hormone that transforms food into energy. Without sufficient insulin, a person can develop heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness. Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood or young adulthood, but Type 2 develops gradually as a person ages. Older adults often take multiple medications to manage this chronic illness, which is a specialty of geriatric medicine.
- Hypertension: More commonly known as high blood pressure, hypertension stems from narrow arteries that impede blood flow to the heart. This issue can occur for years without a patient realizing it and leads to severe health conditions, like a stroke, heart attack, or aneurysm. Geriatric medicine focuses on treating chronic illnesses like hypertension in older patients.
- Osteoporosis: This disorder occurs when new bone develops slower than old bone breaks down. It weakens bones and makes mild actions, like coughing or bending over, cause fractures. Osteoporosis is a common concern for older adults that specialized services in geriatric medicine address.
Since many older adults take more than one prescription drug, a significant portion of geriatric medicine involves medication management. Providers are familiar with adverse reactions that happen when certain medications interact and help patients safely navigate complex pharmacotherapy treatment plans involving multiple medications. This specialized training is unique to the medical specialty of geriatric medicine.
As people get older, falls become a more serious issue. For instance, breaking a bone can lead to a longer-lasting disability. Doctors provide aging patients with fall prevention screenings, as well as strategies to mitigate their chances of getting injured. Preventing falls in older adults is an important part of geriatric medicine.
Diagnosis and Medical Treatment
Medical issues affecting older adults originate in different parts of the body, and geriatric doctors use numerous tools and tests to diagnose these conditions. One or more tests may be recommended to help elderly patients gain a clear picture of their overall health. The following are a handful of diagnostic methods for diseases and disorders mentioned above. Laboratory screenings and imaging are among the most common diagnostic techniques, as they give us geriatric doctors a wide range of insights. However, certain tests are geared specifically toward older populations. For example, balance and videonystagmography (VNG) testing assesses fall risk in patients 62 and over, and cognitive assessments are done on patients 65 and over for insurance compliance. Neuro-cognitive testing is also available for patients with memory concerns.
Treatment varies based on the specific ailment. Many times, no cure is available for conditions impacting older adults. Instead, a geriatric doctor will provide medications to manage symptoms, lifestyle changes that mitigate the effects of the disease, surgery to correct a damaged area of the body, or rehabilitation to promote a higher quality of life. Geriatric care involves primary care services, medical treatment, and access to community resources to help elderly patients learn healthy aging.
Signs It’s Time to See a Geriatrician
Knowing when it is the time in your life to see a geriatric doctor is crucial in healthy aging. Here is a list of signs that indicate it may be time to see a geriatrician:
- Multiple Chronic Health Conditions: If you have several chronic medical conditions that require management, a geriatrician can help coordinate your care and optimize treatment plans.
- Medication Complexity: Managing multiple medications can be challenging. If you’re experiencing difficulties with medication management or have concerns about potential interactions, a geriatrician can provide guidance.
- Memory Problems: Memory lapses or cognitive changes, such as forgetfulness or confusion, could be indicative of underlying conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease that a geriatrician can assess and address.
- Mobility Issues: Difficulty with walking, balance, or an increased risk of falls can be signs that it’s time to see a geriatrician for a comprehensive assessment and fall prevention strategies.
- Functional Decline: If you’re finding it increasingly challenging to perform activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, cooking, or managing household tasks, a geriatrician can assess your functional status and recommend support services.
- Weight Loss: Unexplained or significant weight loss in older adults can be a sign of underlying health issues that should be evaluated by a geriatrician.
- Incontinence: Fecal or urinary incontinence can be both physically and emotionally distressing. A geriatrician can help diagnose the cause and provide management options.
- Depression or Anxiety: Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or changes in mood can be addressed by a geriatrician who specializes in mental health treatment for older adults.
- Advanced Age: Simply being of advanced age can be a reason to consider seeing a geriatrician, as they are trained to address the unique healthcare needs of older adults.
Get In Touch with a Nirvana Healthcare Management Services Provider
Older adults seeking high-quality primary care that prioritizes their well-being and aims to improve their quality of life can rely on Nirvana Healthcare Management Services. Our healthcare network is dedicated to providing holistic and comprehensive care tailored to the unique needs of older patients. Whether you’re in Newark or East Orange, NJ, you can expect a consistent and standardized patient experience at various locations, including:
- Salerno Medical Associates
- Metropolitan Medical Group
- Roseville Medical Society
- North Ward Medical Arts
- Armenti Medical Group
In addition to these primary care services, Nirvana Healthcare Management Services also offers valuable fall prevention education to help older adults stay safe and maintain their independence. For those who qualify, at-home care services are available through CHOP, further enhancing the convenience and accessibility of healthcare for older individuals. If you or a loved one are interested in geriatric medicine or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us and speak with our dedicated patient coordinators today. Your well-being and quality of life are our top priorities.