Asking questions is the first way to begin change

Frequently asked questions

1. What is geriatrics?

Geriatrics is the medical speciality that focuses on the health care of older adults, typically
defined as individuals over the age of 65 years. It involves preventing, diagnosing, treating,
and managing common health conditions and diseases in older people. Geriatric care often
involves a comprehensive approach that considers physical and mental health and the social
and functional aspects of ageing.
Geriatricians, who are medical doctors specialized in geriatrics, work to improve the health
and well-being of older adults, often addressing complex and chronic conditions unique to
this population.

2. How is geriatrics different from general medicine for younger adults?

Geriatrics is a specialized field that focuses specifically on the health care of older adults.
This population has unique health needs which may require specialized knowledge and skills
to effectively manage.
Geriatrics often involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes a team of healthcare
providers with expertise in physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, and
The role of a geriatrician is to provide specialized medical care for older adults, focusing on
comprehensive assessment, diagnosis and treatment, coordination of care, prevention and
health promotion, and advocacy.
Older adults often have multiple chronic conditions, or co-morbidities, which can complicate
their care. Geriatricians are trained to manage complex medical conditions and coordinate
care across various specialities.

3. What are some common geriatric health issues?

Geriatric health issues are medical conditions that are more prevalent among older adults.

Here are some of the most common geriatric health issues:

1. Dementia: Dementia is a group of conditions that cause a decline in cognitive
function, including memory, language, and decision-making abilities. The most
common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Falls: Falls are a major health concern among older adults, and they can lead to
serious injuries, including fractures and head trauma.

3. Malnutrition: Malnutrition is a common problem among older adults, and it can result
from a range of factors, including reduced appetite, dental issues, and chronic health

4. Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by a loss of bone density,
which increases the risk of fractures, particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist.

5. Arthritis: Arthritis is a group of conditions that cause inflammation and joint pain,
reducing mobility and increasing the risk of falls.

6. Urinary incontinence: Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine, and it is a
common condition among older adults, particularly women.

7. Cardiovascular disease: Cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, strokes, and

heart failure, is a leading cause of death among older adults.

8. Depression: Depression is a common mental health condition among older adults. It
can significantly impact the quality of life and physical health.

9. Hearing and vision loss: Hearing and vision loss are common among older adults, and
they can significantly impact daily functioning and quality of life. Most importantly,
if they are identified, they are manageable conditions.

4. What are the benefits of exercise for senior citizens?

Exercise has many benefits for senior citizens, including improved physical health, reduced
risk of chronic diseases, improved mental health, reduced risk of cognitive decline, improved
quality of sleep, social benefits, and improved overall well-being.

5. Why do falls occur in the elderly?

Falls are a common health concern among older adults. They can have serious consequences,
including fractures, head trauma, and reduced mobility. Mentioned below are some reasons
why falls are more common in the elderly population:
a. Reduced balance and coordination: As we age, our balance and coordination may
decline, making us more susceptible to falls.

b. Vision and hearing problems: Age-related changes in vision and hearing can make it
more difficult to see and hear potential hazards, increasing the risk of falls.

c. Chronic health conditions: Chronic health conditions, such as arthritis, Parkinsons
disease, and stroke, can increase the risk of falls due to reduced mobility and

d. Medication side effects: Certain medications can cause dizziness, lightheadedness,
and impaired balance, increasing the risk of falls.

e. Environmental hazards: Hazards in the environment, such as uneven flooring, poor
lighting, and loose rugs, can increase the risk of falls, and no handrails, especially in
older adults with reduced vision or mobility.

f. Poor footwear: Wearing shoes that do not fit properly or have poor support can increase
the risk of falls.

g. Muscle weakness: Age-related muscle weakness can make it more challenging to
maintain balance and recover from a stumble, increasing the risk of falls.

Preventive measures, such as regular exercise, medication management, home modifications,
and footwear changes, can help reduce the risk of falls in older adults.

6. What are some common memory problems in seniors?

Memory problems are a common concern for seniors and can range from mild forgetfulness
to more severe cognitive decline. Here are some common memory problems that seniors
may experience:

· Forgetting names, dates, or appointments
· Misplacing items, such as keys or eyeglasses
· Difficulty recalling recent events or conversations
· Difficulty following complex instructions or tasks
· Trouble with word-finding or recall of common words
· Difficulty with problem-solving or decision-making
· Changes in mood or behaviour, such as increased irritability or apathy

· Confusion or disorientation in familiar surroundings
· Difficulty with judgment or decision-making
· Difficulty with learning new information or skills.

It’s important to note that some degree of memory decline is normal in ageing. Still,
significant or rapid changes in memory or cognitive function should be evaluated to
determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.
Department of Geriatric Medicine at AIIMS, New Delhi, provides the facility of a Memory
Clinic for easy evaluation and management of memory complaints of older adults.

7. What are some common sleep problems in seniors?

Sleep problems are common among seniors and can significantly impact their overall health
and well-being. Here are some common sleep problems that seniors may experience:
a. Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early.

b. Sleep apnea: A condition in which breathing stops and starts during sleep, which can
lead to daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

c. Restless leg syndrome: A condition in which there is an urge to move the legs or other
body parts, which can interfere with sleep.

d. Periodic limb movement disorder: A condition in which there are involuntary
movements of the legs or arms during sleep, which can disrupt sleep.

e. Night-time urination: Needing to get up to urinate during the night can interfere with

f. Changes in circadian rhythm: Seniors may experience changes in their sleep-wake
cycle, leading to difficulty falling asleep or waking up too early.

g. Pain or discomfort: Chronic pain or discomfort, such as arthritis or other medical
conditions, can interfere with sleep.

It’s important for seniors to discuss any sleep problems with a healthcare provider/
Geriatrician, as they can be a sign of underlying medical conditions and may require
treatment. Simple lifestyle changes, including maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding
caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and creating a comfortable sleep environment, can also
help improve sleep in seniors.

8. What are some common eye problems in seniors?

As we age, our eyes undergo changes that can increase the risk of certain eye problems.
Senior citizens with ophthalmologic complaints should be evaluated thoroughly for the
diseases listed below:
a. Presbyopia: This is an age-related change in which the lens of the eye becomes less
flexible, leading to difficulty with near vision. This can be corrected with reading
glasses or bifocal lenses.

b. Cataracts: Cataracts occur when the clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to
blurry vision, glare, and difficulty seeing in low light conditions. Cataract surgery is a
common and effective treatment for this condition.

c. Glaucoma: This is a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve and lead to
vision loss. Glaucoma often has no symptoms in its early stages, so regular eye exams
are essential for early detection and treatment.

d. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): This common condition in seniors can cause a gradual loss of central vision. AMD has no cure, but early detection and treatment can slow its progression and preserve vision.

e. Dry eye syndrome: This is a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears,
leading to dryness, irritation, and discomfort. This can often be managed with
artificial tears or other treatments.

f. Floaters and flashes: As we age, the vitreous gel in the eye can shrink and pull away
from the retina, causing floaters (spots or specks that float in the field of vision) and
flashes (brief flashes of light). While usually harmless, sudden onset of floaters or
flashes can indicate a more serious condition, such as retinal detachment, and should
be evaluated by an eye doctor.

g. Regular eye exams, a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and protective
eyewear can help maintain good eye health and prevent or manage these and other eye
problems in seniors.

9. What are some common dental problems in seniors?

As we age, our teeth and gums undergo changes that can increase the risk of some dental
issues. Gum diseases, dental caries, tooth decay and loss, and denture-related problems are
common in older persons.
Regular dental check-ups, good oral hygiene habits, a healthy diet low in sugar, and quitting
smoking and tobacco chewing can all help prevent or manage these and other dental
problems in seniors.

10. What are some common respiratory problems in seniors?

Along with the effect of environmental and lifestyle factors, our respiratory system undergoes
changes that can increase the risk of some respiratory issues. Some of the common diseases
of the respiratory system or lungs that affect elderly patients are- Chronic Obstructive
Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, Interstitial lung disease, Pneumonia, Sleep Apnea, and also
Pulmonary Embolism in some cases.
Regular exercise, quitting smoking, avoiding exposure to air pollutants, and getting
vaccinated against pneumonia and the flu can all help prevent or help manage these and other
respiratory problems in the older population.

11. What are some common gastrointestinal problems in seniors?

As we age, our digestive system undergoes changes that can increase the risk of some
gastrointestinal issues. Here are some common gastrointestinal problems in seniors:
Older persons are at increased risk of gastrointestinal problems with changes in the digestive
system associated with ageing and the effect of the lifestyle and environment. Common
gastrointestinal problems in the elderly are Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),
constipation, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Older adults
are at risk of developing colorectal cancers as well. Therefore, routine evaluation is needed
for early diagnosis and management.
Eating a healthy diet high in fibre, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly can all help
prevent or manage these and other gastrointestinal problems in seniors. It is also essential for
senior citizens to discuss any digestive symptoms with their doctor to determine the
underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

12. What are some common urinary problems in seniors?

Common urinary complaints of older adults are urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections,
kidney stones, prostate enlargement, and urinary retention.
Maintaining good hydration and practising good hygiene can help prevent urinary problems
in seniors. It is also important for seniors to discuss urinary symptoms with their geriatrician
to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.
13. How can older people keep healthy as they age?
With ageing, it is essential to take steps to maintain your health and well-being. Here are
some tips to improve your health as you age:
a. Stay physically active

b. Eat a healthy diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy

c. Stay hydrated

d. Get enough sleep (7-8 hours of sleep per night)

e. Manage stress with regular exercise, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.

f. Stay socially connected

g. Stay mentally active to reduce the risk of cognitive decline

h. Manage chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, work with your

i. Get regular health check-ups

So, to stay healthy with age, stay physically active, eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, get
enough sleep, manage stress, stay socially connected, stay mentally active, manage chronic
conditions, and get regular health check-ups.