Geriatrics is a sub-specialty of medicine that focuses on health care of the elderly. All of the baby boomers will be 65 years and older by 2030. It aims to promote health and to prevent and treat diseases and disabilities in older adults. There is no set age at which patients may be under the care of a geriatrician. Rather, this is determined by a profile of the typical problems that geriatrics focuses on.
Geriatrics differs from adult medicine in many respects. The body of an elderly person is substantially different physiologically from that of an adult. Old age is the period of manifestation of decline of the various organ systems in the body. This varies according to various reserves in the organs, as smokers, for example, consume their respiratory system reserve early and rapidly.
Many people cannot differentiate between Disease and Ageing effects; e.g., renal impairment may be a part of ageing but renal failure is not. Also urinary incontinence is not part of normal ageing, but it is a disease that may occur at any age and is frequently treatable. Geriatricians aim to treat the disease and to decrease the effects of aging on the body. Years of training and experience, above and beyond basic medical training, go into recognizing the difference between what is normal aging and what is in fact pathological.