Old age comes with the development of mental health problems such as dementia, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and late-life addictions. It is the role of a psychiatric geriatrician to ensure the well-being of elderly patients.
They do this by assessing biological, social, and psychological factors that affect the patient and the available social support state. Psychiatric disturbances in old age can be due to the loss of a loved one, financial stress, and isolation.
The geriatric psychiatrist works closely with the caregivers to ensure that there is an establishment of the real cause of mental weariness and the appropriate treatment performed immediately.
Additionally, they observe the patient’s health history and the family support living situation. They then recommend the resources needed to assist the family and help the patient. Let us read on to find out more about this noble occupation.
Education Qualifications, Skills, and Experience of a Psychiatric Geriatrician
The first higher-education step required of a psychiatric geriatrician is acquiring a bachelor’s degree, then taking up the right residency program. Like any other medical field, there is a need to maintain high undergraduate program scores.
The prerequisite courses taken should be according to those chosen by the American Association of Medical Colleges. One must then pass the certification examination in general psychiatry given by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).
The APBN confirms and assures your excellence and expertise in geriatric psychiatry. Besides technical skills, it would be best to have expert communication, which is fundamental to any therapeutic doctor-patient relationship.
Geriatric psychiatrists interact with people from all walks of life. Thus, they need to be open-minded to tolerate different cultures and circumstances. Your skills and education level are not important if you do not have a good rapport with your patients; you will compromise their health.
Average Pay and Duties of a Psychiatric Geriatrician
According to State University, the average annual salary of a geriatric psychiatrist is around $154,050. This value varies, and many factors determine it, such as experience, the institution of employment, certification, and expertise.
As the number of older people rises every year, the demand for people with this specialty also increases.
A psychiatric geriatrician not only cares for the elderly patients but the caregivers as well. Research and studies state that the likelihood of a person dying at an old age increases when institutionalized.
Home care has numerous benefits to the patient but poses role-related stress to the caregiver. They also do research and teaching of other psychiatrists as well as other health care professionals.
How to Apply for the Position of a Psychiatric Geriatrician
The population of people aged 65 and above in the U.S. will increase by 20% by 2030 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). This is an indication that there is a need for more doctors who specialize in this field.
They work in conjunction with other health care providers to ensure a steady mental state of the elderly. They can also perform tests to prescribe the right treatment plan for the patients.
Among the places where you can secure a job as a psychiatric geriatrician are hospitals, academic institutions, and long term care facilities. The job openings are advertised in classified sections of newspapers and internet job portals.
As you continue your practice in these institutions, you are assured of promotion to administrative and managerial positions.
There are many jobs in medicine but working as a psychiatric geriatrician has its own unique rewards. Taking care of the elderly in society is considered a blessing culturally in disguise, and these doctors should count themselves lucky.
Psychiatric geriatricians’ efforts will never go unrecognized as they take a role that is meant to be done by close family members of the patients. Keep in mind that you will also grow old one day, so respect the feelings of the elderly in your family.