When do I Need a Geriatrician?

When do I Need a Geriatric Doctor
circular photo of Dr. Corinne Self, geriatrician in Tucson, Arizona

Meet Dr. Corinne Self, the founder of ElderHealth and a specialist in geriatric medicine. The US has an anti-aging culture. Some people wait to see a geriatric doctor after it’s too late to improve their quality-of-life.

Read on to learn the benefits of having a quality geriatric primary care provider (PCP) in your 60s, 70s, and throughout your golden years.

What’s missing from typical primary care for older adults?

Dr. Self had the vision to create a mobile medical team of specialists who visit patients in their own homes. One day a patient shared her dismay and how she “missed the old days of medicine”. In many ways, typical primary care was not meeting the standards of care from yesterday. Doctors knew their patients, your health history, and they made house calls.

“That’s when it clicked: Patients needed a single party responsible for ailments and the whole healthcare journey. Helping patients by properly coordinating and navigating care is the piece that goes missing, and making sure care is personalized is what can impact outcomes. […] This means visiting patients at home, which can provide a window into what’s really going on. Seeing all of the drugs, vitamins, and supplements a patient takes (or not) can be powerful.”

– Corinne Self MD excerpt from the article We Can Do Better For Our Elders

What is a geriatrician?

A geriatric doctor specializes in primary care for older adults and knows how to help patients optimize quality of life, longevity, and functionality. As people age, they may consider a more holistic approach to care to avoid getting lost in our fragmented healthcare system. Geriatricians are experts at helping people avoid the pitfalls of aging including falls, frequent infections, medication adverse effects, too many medications, too many specialists and undiagnosed cognitive impairments.

As people age, they are prescribed more medications and spend more time in doctors offices, oftentimes without improvements in their health. In your older years, with our expertise learn how to optimize your physical, social, and emotional health.

We can advise you on how to stay independent and live at home.

Melissa Koon, ARNP

Did you know detecting early signs of neurocognitive disease can delay the progression of memory loss?

Arguably, the most important reason to see a geriatrician is to be evaluated for cognitive impairment. A fifth of older adults have cognitive impairment, and one in 10 adults have dementia (cognitive impairment severe enough to prevent normal daily functioning). Not all cognitive impairment progresses to dementia. Geriatricians are well equipped to thoroughly evaluate you and implement interventions to improve your cognitive function.

At what age should I see a geriatric doctor?

We recommend seeking out a geriatric specialist at around the age of 65. A geriatrician can help you implement interventions to keep you living well for years to come. A typical assessment evaluates common geriatric syndromes:

  • polypharmacy
  • falls
  • cognitive impairment, memory loss
  • depression
  • vertigo
  • urinary incontinence
  • hearing loss
  • vision loss
  • muscle and bone loss

These syndromes lead to a poor quality-of-life and adverse health outcomes. Oftentimes treatable, the symptoms are often overlooked as norms of aging.

What can I expect at my first geriatric doctor’s appointment?

A typical first appointment with a geriatric provider will focus on your health history, day-to-day routine, and some simple in-office assessments of balance, memory, and frailty. 

Where can I find a geriatrician? 

The US has a major shortage of geriatricians. Your best chance at finding a geriatrician is checking the local university medical center for a geriatric consultation department. Tucson, Arizona, has several geriatric doctors and primary care providers.

Find a PCP based on your healthcare needs

Here are some search tips on finding a geriatrician in Arizona:

Live in a rural area? 

If you live in a rural area and do not have access to a geriatrician, you can see a Elderhealth specialist via telemedicine in the comfort of your own home.

Read reviews

Reviews can be relevant to your decision-making process in finding a healthcare provider. Better yet, check with local experts on Google Maps and on a business’ Facebook page for a provider’s reviews. 

Thank you to our members for all the five-star reviews!

Ask for referrals 

If you’ve just moved to Tucson, Arizona, or only live here part-time, ask a neighbor or their family member who they go to. A client’s recommendation is the best compliment we can receive.

ElderHealth specializes in the best primary care for adults ages 65 and older 

Find a doctor who will get to know the real you and listen to you. Talk to your doctor about your ailments and ask how they can support you in your older age. We’ll help guide you on your physical health, cognitive and mental health. 

Do you need all those supplements and prescriptions? 

In a telemedicine appointment, you can get a second opinion. Overmedication happens; typically we are able to reduce doses or stop several medications with patient monitoring and 24/7 support.

ElderHealth focuses on your cognitive function, mental health, and emotional well-being. We take a holistic approach maintaining independence and lifestyle that many will want to adopt. Many families will choose to care for their parents and grandparents at home, and we can help provide much needed support.

Retain a medical support team with an ElderHealth membership

Our medical team includes licensed professionals and experts in older adult care:
  • Doctors
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers
  • Art Guides
  • Music Therapists

ElderHealth has weekly team meetings to discuss our patient’s health and care plans. We care deeply about all our members’ day-to-day situations and operate based on the care needs of each individual. 

“Everyone on our staff is working towards the same goal for all our patients.”

Brittany Wagner, Practice Manager and Notary
Awards and recognitions

In 2022, our practice was voted a Favorite Community Health provider in the Arizona Daily Star 2022 Readers’ Choice.

Vote for ElderHealth in the 2023 Readers’ Choice. We appreciate your support and votes!

Love this article? Share a link to this page with your community on social media:


2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *