April 30, 2019

What is a Geriatrician? Should I Be Seeing One?

The short answer from a geriatric medicine specialist

Elderly woman visits with her doctor for a checkup

Q: What is a geriatrician, and how are they different from my primary care doctor?

A: A geriatrician is a doctor who is a successful aging specialist. We have additional training in successful aging – so not just treating diseases of the elderly but also preventing diseases of the elderly.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

What we do is very distinct and unique. We are not trying to duplicate what your primary care physician does. Your primary care physician knows you well, and you have a relationship that has been built over time. We very much want you to have that. But we want you, in addition, to come in and see your aging specialist once a year.

We will talk about issues that might not come up in conversation with your primary care physician, such as:

  • Preserving brain health.
  • Preserving physical strength and endurance.
  • Medication management, and getting off any medicines that are no longer helping you.
  • Prioritizing and planning for healthcare in the future.

There are about 52 ways that our bodies naturally change between ages 50 and 80 – things like eyesight, hearing and memory. We can talk through those things and differentiate between what’s normal and what’s not. We also talk about the importance of less obvious things like staying hydrated because you might not feel as thirsty, and eating enough protein so that you’re maintaining muscle.


We generally start seeing people around age 50. There’s not an age where you suddenly become “geriatric,” but in terms of successful aging, you can never start too early.

We want you to feel empowered to know what’s changing with your own body so that you can take control of your own health and make these adjustments. People are living longer but they’re also living better. We are the biggest advocate for each one of us as we get older.

— Geriatric medicine specialist Ardeshir Hashmi, MD


Related Articles

Female swimmer in the water at edge of a pool
December 1, 2023
Can Exercise Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer?

Physical activity and weight management can minimize your chances of getting the disease

Two people standing in the cold.
November 29, 2023
10 Colds Not To Catch This Winter

The flu, RSV, COVID-19, pneumonia and more typically circulate during cold weather months

Parent breastfeeding baby on bed, against the headboard.
November 27, 2023
Looking for Foods To Increase Your Milk Supply? Think Big Picture

No single food will increase your milk, but an overall healthy diet will help

Parent uses manual baby aspirator to open up nasal passages of baby.
November 22, 2023
Prevent Phlegm in Your Baby’s Throat With a Nasal Aspirator

Keeping your baby’s airways clear of mucus helps with breathing and feeding

Two different vaccines and needles displayed in foreground.
November 22, 2023
Which Vaccines Can You Get at the Same Time?

Getting routine vaccinations together can save you time and may be more effective

Muffins and sweetbreads with frosting on trays at bakery.
November 22, 2023
13 Foods That You Didn’t Know Contain Dairy

Be sure to check the labels of common foods like canned tuna, bread, hot dogs and chocolate

Toddler drinking from a cup while at the table during dinner.
November 21, 2023
Toddler Drinks — What Does the Research Say About These Products?

They aren’t unhealthy, but they’re probably a waste of money

person drinking coffee at computer at night
November 15, 2023
Is It Bad To Drink Coffee Late at Night?

Depending on your sensitivity to caffeine, a late-night cup may be just fine

Trending Topics

group of hands holding different beverages
November 14, 2023
10 Myths About Drinking Alcohol You Should Stop Repeating

Coffee won’t cure a hangover and you definitely shouldn’t mix your cocktail with an energy drink

Person applies moisturizer as part of their skin care routine after a shower.
November 10, 2023
Korean Skin Care Routines: What You Need To Know

Focus on the philosophy — replenishing and respecting your skin — not necessarily the steps

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
November 8, 2023
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try