What is a Geriatrician?
A geriatrician specializes in caring for older patients. We work especially closely with frail elderly patients and those who have dementia. Geriatricians see things in a very distinct way. Providing the best care possible requires more than understanding diseases and age. It is about knowing what matters most to the patient. It is also about understanding the world in which the patient and caregiver live.
Just as pediatricians emphasize developmental status, geriatricians emphasize functional status. We get a clear picture of the patient’s health when we know what a patient can do. We also realize the importance of supporting the caregiver. Caregivers, not medicines, make the biggest difference in a frail patient’s life. Most of the care of a frail patient is at home, not in the doctor’s office.
What will this website be about?
If you had very mild Alzheimer’s Disease, would you want to try the new medication, Aduhelm? Would you later regret it? Will there be a vaccine to prevent against Alzheimer’s Disease?
These are the types of questions I have been asked throughout my career:
- When is it important to call the doctor?
- We’re living longer, how do we make life great?
- What advice do you have about caregiving to make it more enjoyable and less stressful?
My posts will give a geriatrician’s perspective on these questions. I’ll describe decisions that patients, families and I have made. Some decisions were good and some bad. I look forward to your questions and comments.
Why am I starting this website?
During my career, being a geriatrician was both fun and frustrating. The frustrating part was a healthcare system that did not meet the needs of frail patients. Going to the doctor’s office can take all day and be exhausting. The visit is once every few months or less and the visit is short.
There is a big gap between a visit to the doctor’s office and the day to day lives of elderly patients. Caregivers play the most important role in maintaining a frail patient’s health and quality of life. My ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between caregivers and healthcare. This website is a step in that direction. I’m here to support and empower the caregiver.
There’s another reason I am starting this website. It is personal. I am a baby boomer. How do baby boomers thrive as seniors? All our lives we follow a path. At retirement, the path opens, and you create your own path. This is my path. I still see patients, but I have more time and freedom. My path forward is much less certain, but I am still pursuing my dreams. I hope that I can help you and you can help me.
I would like to share a little bit about me. It’s easy to say that I went from college to medical school to a career as a doctor. Knowing why I am doing this website requires digging a little deeper into what makes me tick. I was born in San Francisco Chinatown, the son of two immigrants from China. Here’s a 5-minute video that describes my experience as a Chinese American.
What brings us together is hearing our stories, I’d like to know yours.