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Geriatrics, why should we care?

Contributor: Palina Piankova, trainee in geriatrics, MSc Experimental Medicine

Origin/affiliation: Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

I am a trainee, a second-year medical student, full of hopes and dreams, eager to get involved. Having worked in the field of geriatric cardiology, I can, without the shadow of a doubt, tell you that I DO care. I mean, my twitter bio even says it: "healthy aging enthusiast". I'm a 100% sold on the concept, the premise and its potential for yielding tangible change within the healthcare system.

My friends roll their eyes when I get going about frailty. My peers look at me with incredulity when I tell them that geriatric medicine is "cool".

Here is my short list of arguments of why geriatrics are "riveting", "sexy", "intriguing", etc.

1. You get to play Sherlock Holmes on a daily basis. Your usual physiological malfunction becomes embedded in a system of sub-optimal processes. You neglect one and the whole system might collapse. Polypharmacy, multimorbidity, disability, quality of life, the heterogeneity of the ageing process itself, so many elements to consider. Collect those clues!

2. You get to spend time and build a rapport with your patient on a whole new level! The Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment puts your patient and yourself through the ultimate test. It takes forever, you know almost everything afterwards and get to bond over random stories. Besties for life!

P.S. You can also unlock an extra challenge and help people with their lip-reading skills. Don't forget to whisper in that ear!

To finish off, I want to emphasize that geriatric medicine is anything but dull. We owe it to ourselves and to themselves to care, adapt and respond.

Thank you for keeping it exciting!

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