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Understanding Senior Care: Geriatrician Vs. Gerontologist

Whether you’re actively searching for care or planning for the future, it’s useful to have a working knowledge of senior care terminology. That’s where we can help. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the fields of gerontology and geriatric medicine, why they’re important, and discuss what makes them different.

What is a Gerontologist?

Gerontologists are health care professionals who may have patients, but they aren’t medical doctors. ‘Gerontologist’ is simply a catch-all term for experts in the field of gerontology – the scientific study of aging and its effects on medical treatment and well-being. But what do gerontologists do? They’re specialists who address the unique health concerns older adults face in fields like dentistry, psychology, nursing and social work.

And why is gerontology important? Gerontologists, especially those who have earned care certifications from state and federal bodies, are a crucial part of the senior care ecosystem. Since most doctors don’t specialize in serving older adults, these professionals support and inform the work your doctor does to keep you healthy. They also do research that leads to more effective, compassionate and comfort-minded care.

Gerontologists vs. Geriatricians

What’s the difference between a gerontologist and a geriatrician? As you may have guessed, a geriatrician is a medical doctor who specializes in caring for older adults. Once they’ve finished medical school and residency, would-be geriatricians must become board-certified in internal or family medicine. They are then required to complete a geriatric medicine fellowship at an accredited facility and pass the Geriatric Medicine Certification Examination.

When you go to a geriatrician, you benefit from their education in preventing, diagnosing and treating age-related health concerns. Research shows that geriatric medicine is one of the least common specialties for young doctors to choose. But the doctors who choose it more frequently see themselves as compassionate caretakers and are less concerned with prestige or high pay.

Do You Need a Geriatrician?

Many seniors already see multiple medical professionals – including primary care physicians, nurses, and medical specialists like cardiologists, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, etc. So when is a geriatrician the right choice? Older adults experience different symptoms and reactions to medication than younger people – it’s a geriatrician’s job to know why. If you or a loved one are living with multiple chronic health conditions, a geriatrician can help integrate medical advice from other specialties into a care plan that works for you.

If you’re unsure where to start with the decision making process, read this. You’ll also learn how to approach the senior care conversation with your family.

We Specialize in Serving Seniors

At The Atriums, you’ll find a community that’s uniquely equipped to meet your needs. That means providing life-enriching services, amenities and personalized care to enhance the experience of each resident. Our commitment to excellence extends to each of our higher levels of service – including assisted living, memory care and rehabilitation. And you can rely on our knowledge and resources to help connect you to medical specialists in the Kansas City area.

To learn more about how an address at The Atriums can help promote your or your loved one’s well-being, contact us. Our team is always ready to start the conversation and answer all of your questions.