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What Are the Main Concerns in Geriatric Health?

By Patti Kate
Updated Jan 29, 2024
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As people age, their health often becomes fragile, so doctors who treat geriatric patients must deal with a host of concerns about the elderly. One of the major concerns in geriatric health is dementia, which can seriously impact a patient's cognitive abilities. Learning how to manage dementia at the onset can help improve an elderly person's quality of life. An increased risk for type II diabetes is another geriatric health concern. Serious injury due to falls is a common occurrence in the elderly, and a major concern in geriatric health.

Maintaining geriatric health is vital as one advances in age. Health issues and concerns may vary with the individual, although many elderly individuals share one common complaint: arthritis. Inflammatory conditions of the joints can be extremely painful and debilitating. Coping with arthritis is especially difficult for the elderly, as it can threaten their independence and quality of life.

Geriatric health care often involves treating patients with cardiovascular disease. The risk of coronary heart disease increases with age. Factors such as poor diet and obesity in elderly patients may contribute to heart-related issues.

Impaired vision is another other main concern in geriatric health. Vision problems or even blindness may result as a complication from diabetes. The elderly are more likely to develop these complications if diabetes is not properly managed.

The effects of aging can also contribute to hearing loss. This is why it is more common for the elderly to rely on the use of hearing aids. Other treatment options, such as cochlear implants may help elderly patients with hearing loss.

Addressing mental health issues may be a fundamental part of geriatric care. Many elderly individuals suffer from depression, primarily due to lack of social interaction. Feelings of isolation may occur when an elderly person is housebound. In extreme cases of depression, suicide among the elderly is a concern.

Other mental health concerns in geriatric medicine are memory loss and dementia. Cognitive reasoning may be compromised as a result of dementia due to aging. Advanced dementia may cause symptoms such as delusions and hysteria. Alzheimer's disease may be mild to advanced, and generally requires treatment such as medication and cognitive therapy.

Nutrition is a chief concern for many elderly individuals. In many cases, an elderly person who lives alone or is housebound may not receive adequate nutrition. Lack of proper nutrition may also be due to the inability to cook for himself. Providing home care for an elderly individual who cannot look after himself may be a solution.

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Discussion Comments

By John57 — On Aug 10, 2011

There are several medical health clinics in our city, but I have seen some specific advertising from two of them for geriatric care.

I can see this area of medicine growing in the coming years. When talking with my parents, one of the things they are most frustrated with is the decline in their vision.

They both still drive, but if there is something going on where they will be driving after dark, they don't go unless they have a ride.

Neither of them feels confident to drive at night and it is often easier to just stay at home. They are thankful they are still able to drive during the day, but even this one change affects their lifestyle.

By andee — On Aug 09, 2011

I am glad there are many more services available for the elderly than there were when my grandparents were aging.

Both of my parents are in their 80's and see geriatric doctors who help them with their aging health issues.

It is nice to have a doctor who specializes in the area of geriatrics, and has a good grasp of what is going on.

Another helpful thing is the network of people these geriatric doctors have. If there is something going on they are not competent to help with, they know the right people to refer them to for the proper care.

This gives my parents confidence that they are getting the best medical care and attention they need. They also feel like they have doctors who truly understand the unique aspects of aging.

By myharley — On Aug 09, 2011

Growing older comes with many challenges, and it is also hard to see your loved ones struggling to do things that used to come so easy for them.

Many times people who don't have arthritis don't think of it as being a big deal because it is not a terminal disease. But arthritis can cause constant pain and be much more debilitating than what people realize.

My grandmother struggled with this for many years. She always tried to keep a positive attitude, but it became harder for her to perform simple activities of daily living.

There are more geriatric medical services available for the elderly all the time. One of the nicest things about this is that it allows many of them the chance to be stay in their home for a longer period of time.

My grandmother had a nurse who visited her a couple a week to check on her and monitor her health. She also had some home health care come and help with basic household chores.

Both of these services were a real help for her and she was able to enjoy her home for an extended time.

By KoiwiGal — On Aug 08, 2011

Unfortunately, geriatric health is going to become more and more of an issue for everyone as the years go by. There was such a popular boom decades ago, that there are far more people in some of the older generations than in the ones coming up.

I know the numbers of available geriatric nursing jobs are expected to rise in the next decade and that geriatric health promotion is a big deal among governments as well.

Almost every country is facing this. I just hope that they choose to do it in a way that can honor their elderly.

By pleonasm — On Aug 07, 2011

When my grandfather began to get sick, the main issue for us as a family was how we could care for him. Everyone worked long hours and just didn't have the option of providing care, or taking him into their homes. He was very confused and needed someone to make sure he was all right at all times.

It's a hard decision to put someone into a clinic, but in that case I think it was the best one. We all visited as much as we could, and in fact, my grandfather recovered enough to flirt with the nurses and seemed to be happy and fully supported for the last months of his life.

If you are facing this kind of decision, I wish you the best. It is an awfully hard one to make.

By oasis11 — On Aug 07, 2011

@Cupcake15 - I know what you are saying. My father developed dementia when he turned 80 and his memory got progressively worse. He would repeat things that he just said and would forget the simplest details.

I am sure he was a little sad because he was aging, but his fading memory was a problem which is why we placed him in an assisted living facility.

This place offered nursing care, but it was run more like an apartment building and some of the seniors could leave the premises, but had to sign out when they did.

Because of the dementia we took my father out, we did not want him roaming around the streets alone. I think that geriatric health issues are really numerous and you just have to be aware of the first sign that something is not right.

By cupcake15 — On Aug 06, 2011

I just wanted to say that I think that the study of geriatric mental health can really illustrate the feelings that many seniors have towards aging.

I read that about 15% of all people that are 65 and over have been diagnosed with depression. It is easy to understand why because as we age we run into a number of changes in our lives that might too drastic for us to adjust to.

Many bouts of depression are related to reduced or lack of mobility. They also say that being diagnosed with a disease or losing a partner or even moving from one's home to an assisted living facility or nursing home might trigger the depression.

I read that the state of sadness has to occur for a period of two weeks straight before they are officially diagnosed with the condition. Aging is often really hard.

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