There is growing national concern about the oversupply of pediatricians for a declining population of children and the undersupply of geriatricians for a rapidly growing elderly population. The pediatric oversupply problem could be met by training fewer pediatricians and/or encouraging some pediatricians to change their field of practice. This commentary will address the latter option. Some pediatricians might choose to leave pediatrics, train in geriatrics, and subsequently become geriatricians. Are there sufficient similarities between the patients, the specialties, and the providers to make this a reasonable suggestion?
The young and the old both experience rapid physical and psychological changes. Developmental challenges that result from these changes are similar for the young and for the elderly. The major challenges center on identity, independence, and control. Identity for adolescents and for the elderly focuses on their physical and psychological identities. Both the young and the old are making accommodations