-Dr. Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC
The Alliance of Aging Research predicted that by 2030 the United States will need 36,000 geriatricians. However, today there are only 7,500 physicians who are certified in geriatric medicine. Even though Geriatricians study beyond three year residency after medical school, they earn less than other specialists.
Most American’s first line of health care is their primary physician which is a specialist in internal medicine or family practice. Dr. Steve Snyder, of San Francisco, is a board-certified internist and endocrinologist who received geriatric training later in his career recommends that older patients should have geriatricians as their primary care physicians. The doctors need to be in the mindset to recognize symptoms and causes of aging.
Dr. Cheryl Phillips, president of the American Geriatrics Society says, “Patients and their families need to talk with the primary about his views on medication management, fall assessment and memory loss. These conditions may occur as we get older, but unless the doctor is aware, he won’t ask about them.”