You may be asking, “Just what is a geriatrician and who should see one?” According to the American Geriatrics Society, a geriatrician is a medical doctor who has specific training to meet the unique needs of older adults. Illnesses, diseases and medications may affect older people differently than younger adults. Older patients often have multiple health problems and take numerous medications. A geriatrician is specifically trained to provide the quality of care that takes these unique circumstances into consideration. In most cases, geriatricians are primary care physicians who are board-certified in either family medicine or internal medicine. In addition to their primary board certification a geriatrician has completed additional training in Geriatric Medicine.
At Advent Christian Village, Dr. Maria Gonzalez is board certified in Family Medicine with Certificates of Added Qualifications in Geriatric Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine. This advanced training gives her a special and unique perspective as she cares for the members of Advent Christian Village and older adults in the community. Maria recognizes how illness in an older adult is different from illness in a younger person. She understands the importance of maintaining independence and social support and of using a holistic approach that emphasizes healthy aging and preventative care. Dr. Gonzalez is driven by her compassion to assist people as serious health conditions are compounded with other aspects of aging including frailty and balance, multiple medical problems, multiple medications, and mental decline.
There is no specific age at which a person should consider seeking the care of a geriatrician. Generally speaking, anyone over age 65 can benefit from this specialty. The Health in Aging Foundation suggests that a geriatrician should be consulted when an older person’s condition causes considerable impairment and frailty. These patients tend to be over the age of 75 and coping with a number of diseases and disabilities including cognitive problems. A geriatrician will also provide knowledge and resources to family members and friends who are feeling the stress and strain of caregiving for their loved ones.
Consider for yourself if the medical care of a geriatrician is right for you or your loved one. At the Copeland Medical Center at Advent Christian Village, Dr. Maria Gonzalez sees members of Advent Christian Village and residents of the surrounding community. To make an appointment, call the Medical Center at 386-658-5300. If you live outside north central Florida, please consult the following website to find a geriatrician near you: www.healthinaging.org/find-a-geriatrics-healthcare-professional/.