Geriatrics is a specialty that focuses on the health care of elderly people. Geriatricians typically manage disorders in a number of specialty areas with a focus on health issues unique to the elderly, including the appropriate use of drugs in the elderly, the interaction among multiple diseases, the need to coordinate care among multiple practitioners, and the impact of age-related cognitive and physical changes on treatment. Geriatricians also aim to promote health by anticipating, preventing, and treating diseases and disabilities that become more common with age.
Geriatrics Sections (A-Z)
Aging and Quality Of Life
Approach to the Geriatric Patient
Drug Therapy in the Elderly
Prevalence of prescription drug use among older adults increases substantially with age. Among people ≥ 65, 90% use at least 1 drug per week, > 40% use at least 5 different drugs per week, and 12% use ≥ 10 different drugs per week. Women take more drugs, particularly psychoactive and arthritis drugs. Drug use is greatest among the frail elderly, hospitalized patients, and nursing home residents; typically, a nursing home resident is given 7 to 8 different drugs on a regular basis.
Falls in the Elderly
A fall is defined as a person coming to rest on the ground or another lower level; sometimes a body part strikes against an object that breaks the fall. Typically, events caused by acute disorders (eg, stroke, seizure) or overwhelming environmental hazards (eg, being struck by a moving object) are not considered falls.
Funding Health Care for the Elderly
In the US, health care services for the elderly are funded mainly by Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Health Administration, private insurance, and out-of-pocket payments. In addition, many states offer health-related benefits and programs, such as subsidies for transportation, housing, utilities, telephone, and food expenses, as well as help at home and nutrition services. Health care workers should help elderly patients learn about health benefits and programs they are entitled to.
Gait Disorders in the Elderly
Prevention of Disease and Disability in the Elderly
Provision of Care to the Elderly
Social Issues in the Elderly
The Older Driver
For adults, driving is the most important method of independent transportation. In 2011, there were 35 million licensed drivers ≥ 65 yr in the US, including many ≥ 80 yr ( Percentage of Drivers by Age and Sex). Progressive disease that impairs driving in older adults may have two serious adverse outcomes: injury or death resulting from a motor vehicle crash (MVC) or driving cessation.