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Finding a Doctor

Not every doctor who practices primary care has special knowledge in geriatrics. When managing the health care needs of someone 60 or older, it is important to find a primary care physician (PCP) who:

It is important to find a PCP who not only can help with illness and disease, but who can also make suggestions about staying healthy, such as modifications in diet and an appropriate exercise routine (see Exercise & Fitness).

In larger metropolitan areas, you may be able to find a physician who specializes in geriatric medicine. However, fewer than 8,000 physicians are certified geriatricians. For help locating a qualified PCP for the elder in your care, contact your Area Agency on Aging (AAA) or your insurance provider. Other organizations that can help you find a doctor include the following:

When interviewing primary care physicians on the phone or in person, it is useful to prepare written questions and take notes. Ask about:

An elder's PCP will help refer you to specialists; a PCP referral may be necessary if your elder is insured through a Medicare Advantage Plan. (For more information, see Medicare.)

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