With most seniors already seeing an array of medical professionals, could there be really any benefit to adding yet another? When it comes to considering the benefits of a geriatric physician, the clear answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
A geriatrician is board-certified either in internal or family medicine, similar to a primary care physician, but with the extra benefit of being certified in geriatric medicine. Geriatric specialists are recommended in particular by the American Geriatrics Society for those who are:
- Experiencing significant frailty and/or impairment
- Diagnosed with several chronic conditions
- Battling a condition which causes considerable quantities of stress to family caregivers
With a holistic approach to care, a geriatric physician specialist creates an in-depth, customized plan for aging which takes into consideration both previous and existing medical history. The plan will address challenges such as activities of daily living (meals, personal hygiene, dressing, etc.) together with the particular challenges associated with the older adult’s diagnoses, and an assessment of the home environment and care that is currently set up. The geriatrician will work closely together with the senior’s support system – family, friends, and caregivers – to make sure all bases are covered as it pertains to meeting care needs.
Selecting the right geriatrician is key. An excellent starting place is the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging (800-563-4916), which offers recommendations to geriatric specialists by area. After you have a listing of well-qualified geriatricians in your community, you can narrow down your search by obtaining answers to these key questions:
- Is he or she covered under the older adult’s medical 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 be sure the geriatrician communicates well, as this will be a critical component of the quality of your senior loved one’s care. Once you’ve chosen the geriatric specialist you’d like to try, hang on to the listing of alternate providers until after you have scheduled the first appointment and determined that the individual you’ve selected will likely to be a good fit.
In addition to the geriatrician, a team of professionals with expertise in geriatric care will likely be involved, which might include a social worker, nurse, dietitian, physical and occupational therapist, and psychiatrist. Ideally, the group will work cohesively to address any and all issues, both now and proactively as the older adult’s needs change with time.
Morning Glory Home Care is always available to help as well, with our extensive knowledge of aging care and our attention to the specific needs of each senior we have the honor of serving. Email or give us a call at 618-667-8400 to learn more about our elder care in Alton, IL and surrounding communities, to get answers to the questions you have, or to ask about a free in-home consultation.