With most older adults already seeing several different doctors, could there be really any advantage to adding still another? When it comes to a geriatric medicine specialist, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
A geriatrician is board-certified either in internal or family medicine, very 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 people who are:
- Experiencing considerable frailty and/or impairment
- Diagnosed with several chronic conditions
- Enduring a condition that causes significant levels of stress to family caregivers
With a holistic approach to care, a geriatric specialist will create an in-depth, personalized plan for aging that takes into account both past and existing medical history. The plan will address topics such as activities of daily living (meals, personal hygiene, dressing, etc.) along with the specific challenges of the senior’s diagnoses, together with an evaluation of the home environment and care that is currently in position. The geriatrician will work closely with the older adult’s support network – family, friends, and caregivers – making sure that all bases are covered as it pertains to meeting care needs.
Selecting the right geriatrician is key. A good starting place is the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging (800-563-4916), which provides referrals to geriatric specialists by area. Once you have a list of well-qualified geriatricians in your town, you can focus your search by obtaining answers to these key questions:
- Is she or he covered under the senior’s health care plan?
- What is his/her background, 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 a crucial component to the quality of your senior loved one’s care. Once you’ve selected the geriatric specialist you would like to try, hang on to the listing of alternate providers until after you have booked the first appointment and decided that the individual you’ve chosen will likely be a good fit.
In addition to the geriatrician, a team of professionals with experience in geriatric care will most likely be involved, which might comprise of a social worker, nurse, dietitian, physical and occupational therapist, and psychiatrist. Ideally, the group will work cohesively to manage any and all issues, both now and proactively as the older adult’s needs change over the years.
Absolute Companion Care is always available to assist as well, with our considerable experience in aging care and our attention to the specific needs of each senior we have the honor of serving. Email or call us at 410-357-9640 to learn about our in home care in Towson and the surrounding areas, to discover answers to your questions, or to request a complimentary in-home consultation.