Here in the U.S., our population is aging – but the number of geriatric care specialists is declining. And that spells a brewing health care crisis among seniors, according to a recently published article in the New York Times. You can access the article here.
We have repeatedly emphasized how important it is for seniors to have a proper medical team, including the expertise of a geriatric care physician, or geriatrician. The New York Times article provides a dramatic illustration. It describes the author’s aging father and how the care of a geriatrician saved him from empty, drab institutional living. For anyone who wants to avoid unplanned institutional care as they age – and that’s just about everyone – this article and other resources we’ve cited in our Resource archive (click here to access our archive) is both encouraging and sobering.
The encouragement comes from the results geriatricians can achieve for their patients. “Good geriatric care can make an enormous difference,” the Times article states. “Older adults whose health is monitored by a geriatrician enjoy more years of independent living, greater social and physical functioning, and lower presence of disease. In addition these patients show increased satisfaction, spend less time in the hospital, exhibit markedly decreased rates of depression and spend less time in nursing homes.” We’ve been talking about these advantages for years!
But the sobering news is this: there’s a growing shortage of geriatric care physicians in America. The American Geriatric Society suggests that we should have one geriatrician for every 300 aging people. But projections show that, in 2030, the U.S. will have one geriatrician for every 3,800 seniors! There are currently only about 8,000 practicing geriatricians in the country, and that number is declining.
Fortunately, here at our practice we have established relationships with geriatric care physicians in our area. Contact us for details, or come to one of our Life Planning Seminars to learn more about this vital component to your health care planning. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website for dates and times of seminars in your area.
(Originally reported at www.nytimes.com)