7 Doctors Every Senior Needs

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
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  • As a natural part of aging, seniors may face more frequent health challenges compared to their younger decades of life. Seniors often deal with multiple health conditions—and the medications that go with them—at the same time. This can sometimes make coming up with an effective treatment plan difficult. To help prevent common age-related health issues from becoming serious medical problems, seniors can seek out doctors who focus on geriatric medicine and have experience treating older adults. There are several doctors that can help you age gracefully and healthfully.

  • 1
    Senior woman with doctor

    Geriatricians are more than typical primary care doctors—they specialize in geriatric medicine and treating older people. That means they’re focused on the specific problems seniors face most often. Geriatricians understand that many seniors have a variety of coexisting health problems and can help patients manage the medications to treat them. A geriatrician focuses on the well-being of the whole person, rather than the treatment of a single problem. Specialists for managing a more complex health issue, such as a cardiologist for a heart condition, may still be necessary.

  • 2
    Senior man getting hearing checked

    Hearing loss is a common, chronic problem for seniors that is oftentimes directly related to older age. Having an audiologist as part of your medical team can help you manage hearing impairment and sometimes even prevent further hearing loss. After initial tests and assessment, an audiologist can determine if a hearing aid would help, and if so, provide one with a customized fit. In addition to diagnosing and treating hearing impairment, an audiologist can also direct patients to other resources if hearing loss is affecting other areas of their life, such as speech and communication.

  • 3
    Man with doctor

    Cardiovascular problems are common among seniors. In fact, elderly people make up more than half of a typical cardiologist’s patients. But unlike younger people, seniors often bring other, age-related health problems with them to the doctor’s office. When looking for a doctor to help you take good care of your heart, be sure to find a cardiologist who has experience treating older people. You need a doctor who can customize your treatment plan based on other medical conditions you may have and the prescriptions you are already taking. Communication between your cardiologist and primary care doctor is critical.

  • 4
    Man with doctor

    As people age, the bladder wall loses elasticity. This causes seniors to have to go to the bathroom more often because the bladder can’t hold as much urine as when they were younger. Additionally, the bladder muscles weaken, meaning that bladder control can become a problem in older age. Urinary tract infections and urethra blockage can also arise. Seniors facing any of these issues would benefit from seeing a urologist. A urologist can also address erectile dysfunction, which is more common among older men.

  • 5

    The body goes through normal wear and tear as we age, which can damage joints. A joint disease called osteoarthritis affects the cartilage, ligaments and bone, and the condition can cause pain in any affected joint. The disease is one of the most common causes of disability among older people, but a rheumatologist can help seniors manage the condition and slow its progression. In addition to osteoarthritis, rheumatologists treat autoimmune diseases, tendinitis, and chronic back pain.

  • 6
    Optometrist or ophthalmologist
    female eye doctor checking patient's vision

    Your eyes also experience wear and tear, so consider having an eye doctor on your care team. Both optometrists, who are not medical doctors, and ophthalmologists, who are medical doctors and perform surgery, can treat age-related vision problems. Regular eye exams can protect your eyes from diseases that have few or no symptoms in the early stages. Getting an eye exam every year can help detect problems before they become serious. Seniors also are more likely than younger people to develop cataracts, dry eye, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. If you experience changes in your vision, see an eye care specialist.

  • 7

    Although pharmacists aren’t medical doctors, they do have doctoral degrees and play a very important role in keeping seniors healthy and safe. Older people often have more than one condition that needs regular medication. A trusted, patient-centered pharmacist can help ensure there are no potentially dangerous interactions. They also know what medications are just as effective when taken in combination with other drugs. Pharmacists and physicians also collaborate directly in hospital settings to make sure patients receive the best—and safest—possible care.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Aug 19
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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