Geriatricians: What Services They Provide and How to Find Medicare Coverage

A geriatrician, or geriatric physician, is a primary care doctor who specializes in the aging process. These doctors aim to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases and disabilities common in older adults.

Woman smiles at her doctor in doctors office

What does a geriatrician treat?

Geriatricians undergo specialized training and certifications to practice geriatric medicine.

Some of the conditions and diseases often addressed by a geriatrician include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Types of cancer prevalent in older populations
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleep disorders
  • Strokes

Geriatricians focus not just on their patient’s health, but also on their home and family life, social support, community and living conditions.

Geriatricians often work closely with different types of medical professionals such as:

  • Nurses
  • Social workers
  • Nutritionists
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Psychiatrists

Geriatricians can treat patients in hospitals, clinics, offices, nursing homes or rehabilitation facilities. Many geriatric doctors may even provide in-home care.

When should you see a geriatric doctor?

The American Geriatrics Society recommends consulting a geriatrician when:1

  • Significant age-related frailty and impairment are present.

  • The patient’s condition is causing their caregiver, family or friends significant stress and strain.

There are several benefits to visiting a geriatrician, as opposed to a general practitioner. Depending on your unique health situation, you may want to consider visiting a geriatrician.

  • A geriatrician is specially trained to anticipate and identify potential age-related health problems and can implement a proactive care plan to get out ahead of the issue.

  • Many seniors battle multiple medical problems, and a geriatrician often understands how these issues interact with one another.

  • Many seniors juggle multiple medications, and a geriatrician has special training around drug interactions and the unique ways certain drugs can affect older patients.

  • The difference between mental decline due to normal aging and that of dementia is not always easy to discern, but one that a geriatrician is trained to recognize some of these important differences.

  • Geriatricians can aid and advise family caregivers. Geriatricians are often well-aware of local and national community resources designed to help provide care for seniors.

How do I find a geriatrician near me?

Given the fact that the senior population in America is larger than ever – with an estimated 10,000 people turning 65 every day ­– there is a growing need for geriatricians.2

There are a few different ways to find a geriatrician near you:

  • Begin by asking your primary care doctor. They may be able to refer you to a geriatrician at the same office, clinic or hospital in which they work.

  • Contact your health insurance plan directly and ask if there is a participating geriatrician near you.

  • If you have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), you can use the Medicare.gov physician finder by simply entering your location and typing “geriatrician” in the search box.

You can also contact a licensed insurance agent to find out if there are any Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) in your area that provide coverage for geriatric services.

Find a Medicare Advantage plan that covers the geriatric care you need

Compare plans now

Or call TTY Users: 711 24/7 to speak with a licensed insurance agent.

 

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not healthcare advice. Speak to your doctor or healthcare provider about your specific healthcare needs.

 

1 American Geriatrics Society. About Geriatrics. Retrieved Feb. 2019, from www.americangeriatrics.org/geriatrics-profession/about-geriatrics.

2 Heimlich, R. Baby Boomers Retire. (Dec. 29, 2010). Pew Research Center. Retrieved from www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2010/12/29/baby-boomers-retire.