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Geriatrician for Care of the Elderly

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

What is the name of the profession of looking after elderly people?



Dear Query,

Physicians who specialize in the care of elderly patients are called geriatricians. Geriatrics is the branch of medicine that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of elderly patients, generally defined as age 65 and older.

Another term, gerontology, is often used interchangeably with geriatrics.

However, Richard Allman, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Aging, points out that gerontology and geriatrics refers to different areas of expertise. According to Dr. Allman, a gerontologist does research in the medical field of aging whereas the geriatrician uses gerontology “to diagnose and treat their aging patients. Geriatricians are more apt to be practitioners.” (

For more information about gerontology or geriatrics, see the American Geriatrics Society ( and the Gerontological Society of America (