The concept of geriatrics refers to the specialization of the medicine focused on diseases of old age. This branch of medicine is dedicated to diagnosing, treating, curing and preventing disorders that affect individuals in old age.
Geriatrics is linked to gerontology, what is the science oriented to problems of old age, whether economic, social, psychological or otherwise. In the specific case of geriatrics, it focuses on solving the problems of Health, especially in the hospital sector.
In general, geriatrics are oriented to patients over 65 years of age, which is when the so-called third age begins, with a risk of dependence and a multiple pathology that includes a mental disorder.
The purpose of geriatrics is for the patient to achieve the highest possible level of independence and autonomy so that you can have a self-sufficient life. It is aimed at the elderly being able to remain in their usual environment, living at home.
The practice of geriatrics usually takes place in hospitals and nursing homes. It can occur in services of urgency, in hospitalized patients or in external consultations.
While the pediatricians care for children, geriatrics experts focus on the elderly. That is why they specialize in diseases and disorders characteristic of old age, such as osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, and dementia. Correct patient care usually requires direct contact with the main caregiver and family to achieve accompaniment that helps preserve mental and physical functionality and helps reduce the progression of progressive deterioration typical of age.
Perhaps one of the similarities between pediatrics and geriatrics is the difficulty of dealing with patients many times: some children are too restless or easily impressed and do not allow doctors to do their work with ease; the elderly, on the other hand, can become very hostile with their therapists. In all cases, health professionals must never allow these vagaries to interfere with their work, but must place themselves above the situation.
In the field of geriatrics dozens of regrettable stories are told of abuse towards the elderly by medical and care personnel. Since many patients have very little or no mobility, they are in a state of almost absolute vulnerability, which leads to many reprehensible actions. These cases tarnish the reputation of a branch of medicine that, in principle, only seeks to do good to a portion of society.
The cases of abuse that occur in geriatric centers are not their characteristic feature, although the media have made it almost impossible not to associate them. At this point fiction has also played a very important role: nursing homes are often presented as spaces in which therapists mistreat the elderly and they try to escape or take revenge in some way; This can be shown both in a tragic and humorous way, contributing to the negative image of these centers.
Another myth, so to speak, that revolves around geriatrics is that adults abandon their parents in geriatric hospitals when the latter reach the third age to ignore them, so as not to have to take care of them. While there are many cases in which this is true, geriatrics is in principle a complement in the care of the elderly, a service that helps children to care for their parents properly.