With most seniors already seeing a multitude of medical professionals, could there really be any benefit to adding still another? When it comes to a geriatric physician, the clear answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
A geriatrician is board-certified in either internal or family medicine, much like a primary care physician, but with the additional benefit of being certified in geriatric medicine. Geriatric specialists are recommended in particular by the American Geriatrics Society for those who are:
- Experiencing considerable frailty and/or impairment
- Diagnosed with multiple chronic conditions
- Battling a condition that causes considerable amounts of stress to family caregivers
With a holistic approach to care, a geriatric specialist physician will create an in-depth, individualized plan for aging that takes into account both previous and current medical history. The plan will tackle challenges such as activities of daily living (meals, personal hygiene, dressing, etc.), as well as the specific challenges associated with the older adult’s diagnoses, together with an assessment of the home environment and care that is currently in place. The geriatrician will work directly with the older adult’s support network – family, friends, and caregivers – to make certain that all bases are covered in regards to meeting care needs.
Selecting the right geriatrician is key. An excellent starting point is the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging (800-563-4916), which offers recommendations for geriatric specialists by location. After you have a list of qualified geriatricians in your town, you can focus your search by obtaining answers to these key questions:
- Is she or he covered under the older adult’s medical care plan?
- What are his/her qualifications, including medical education?
- How many years of experience does he/she have?
- Where is the office located, and what are their policies and hours?
You’ll also want to ensure the geriatrician communicates well, since this will be an important element of the quality of your senior loved one’s care. As soon as you’ve selected the geriatric specialist you would like to try, hang on to the listing of alternate providers until after you’ve set up your first appointment and determined that the one you’ve chosen is likely to be a good fit.
Along with the geriatrician, a team of experts with experience in geriatric care will likely be included, which might include a social worker, nurse, dietitian, physical and occupational therapist, and psychiatrist. Ideally, the team will work cohesively to handle any and all issues, both right now and proactively as the older adult’s needs change over the years.
Anthem Home Care is always on hand to help as well, with our significant expertise in aging care and our focus on the individual needs of each senior we have the honor of serving. Email or give us a call at 361-643-2323 to learn about our senior helpers in Portland and the surrounding communities, to obtain answers to your questions, or to ask about a complimentary in-home consultation.