Geriatric Care

Unlike regular adult medicine, geriatric care focuses on the specific needs of elderly people. This is important because the older adult body features distinct physiological differences from the younger adult body. As the body ages, the function of the its various organ systems declines, and the effects of earlier health issues and lifestyle choices may begin to present themselves. Geriatric care specialists are able to distinguish between diseases and impairments that are not part of the normal aging process versus those that are. Furthermore, they are able to make connections between multiple conditions and health issues that may compound. For example, an elderly person may contract an infection that leads to mild fever, which may lead to confusion, which may lead to a fall and a potential bone fracture. The four main categories of issues affecting elderly people—also known as the geriatric giants—are immobility, instability, incontinence, and impaired intellect and memory. Common chronic problems among this population include vision impairment and hearing loss. The effects of all of these issues can be treated or managed using an appropriate physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or speech-language pathology program. In fact, rehab therapy is one of the most effective mechanisms for helping elderly people maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible.