Family Health What Is a Geriatrician? By UPMC, July 24, 2018 If you or your spouse, parent, or another loved one are coping with health concerns as you get older, it may be time to start thinking about finding a geriatrician. As one of the best-rated geriatrics programs in the country, UPMC Geriatric Services strives to maintain a patient’s quality of life and independence. To make an appointment with one of our geriatricians, call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). For more information, visit our website. Specialized Care for Seniors As your body changes over time, so do your health care needs. Simply put, a geriatrician is a doctor who has advanced training in geriatric medicine, with specialized expertise in caring for senior citizens. Geriatricians are trained to diagnose and treat diseases in older adults, handling multiple health conditions that may occur at once, and identifying and treating problems specific to the elderly, such as dementia, confusion, falls, and incontinence. They can also determine which medications are best, since some over-the-counter and prescription drugs can have different effects on the elderly. These doctors also can help older people deal with medical problems that are common near the end of life and connect them with various support services. Geriatricians see people in the office, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals. They will work with your primary care provider to consult and help manage your health as a team. Alternatively, they can serve as your primary care provider. Finding a Geriatrician Despite their value to elderly patients and their families, geriatricians are currently in short supply. According to the American Geriatrics Society, approximately 30 percent of people age 65 and older will need one of these specialists, with an estimated 30,000 in demand by 2030. However, today there are fewer than 7,300 geriatricians in the United States. These specialists treat patients who are age 65 and older. Here’s how to know when it might be time to seek out a geriatrician for yourself or a loved one: Experiencing considerable impairment and frailty from one or more diseases and disabilities, including problems with cognition and memory Family and friends experiencing significant stress and strain as caregivers Taking multiple medications that may need a specialist to review and manage As one of the best-rated geriatrics programs in the country, UPMC Geriatric Services strives to maintain a patient’s quality of life and independence. To make an appointment with one of our geriatricians, call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). For more information, visit the UPMC Geriatric Services website.