Need grows for doctors who specialize in older people, report finds

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Geriatricians, or those who care for the elderly, are in short supply, according to a new report.

Last year there was one geriatrician for every 5,000 U.S. residents older than age 65. Also, of 145 medical schools around the country, only nine have geriatric departments, according to a report in The New York Times this week. The lack of doctors in this area could represent a challenge as the older population continues to grow.

One drawback to becoming a geriatrician could be the lack of prestige and the salary compared to other specialties. One solution to the shortage is for geriatricians to limit their practice to the most delicate elderly patients. Another is to teach primary principles of the specialty to all doctors, the report said.