This headline above is the one I’ve been waiting for. But the one this past week in the NY Times was more in line with the usual narrative: “As Population Ages, Where Are the Geriatricians?”
Now, I’m always glad to see geriatrics in the news, because this helps people know/remember that geriatrics exists.
But this article was like many: heart-warming stories of how we take better care of frail older adults, gloomy statistics on how few geriatricians we have, the requisite comments about how few doctors are signing up to train as geriatricians and how it might be because the pay is less than other doctors.
There was also the usual conflating of geriatrics with geriatricians — there’s mention of the efforts to train other clinicians in geriatrics but it’s brief. Overwhelmingly, the message seems to be that you need one of these special docs to be your PCP (or your mom’s PCP) if you want better health while aging. But these docs are scarce and getting scarcer, so disaster looms for an aging population.
My concern: this feels like a discouraging message.
Given the very definite shortage of geriatricians, I want to see headlines how we might improve healthcare for older adults even though we are short on geriatricians.
In other words, how can we leverage what we know and do in geriatrics?
Ideas on Making Geriatrics Care More Widely Available
What we need are some well-researched magazine articles on the topic, but in the meantime, here are a few ideas I’ve been thinking about: