With most seniors already seeing a variety of doctors, could there be really any benefit to adding yet another? When it comes to a geriatric specialist, the clear answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
A geriatrician is board-certified in either 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 geriatric patients who are:
- Experiencing considerable frailty and/or impairment
- Diagnosed with numerous chronic conditions
- Battling a condition which causes substantial amounts of stress to family caregivers
With a holistic strategy to care, a geriatric specialist will create a comprehensive, personalized plan for aging which takes into consideration both previous and existing health history. The plan will address topics such as activities of daily living (meals, personal hygiene, dressing, etc.) along with the specific challenges associated with the senior’s diagnoses, and an assessment 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 – to make certain that all bases are covered in regards to meeting care needs.
Discovering the right geriatrician is key. A great starting place is the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging (800-563-4916), which offers referrals to geriatric specialists by area. Once you have a list of well-qualified geriatricians locally, you can narrow down 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 be sure the geriatrician communicates well, because this is going to be an important part of the quality of your senior loved one’s care. Once you’ve selected the geriatric specialist you’d 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 have selected will be a good fit.
Together with the geriatrician, a team of specialists with experience 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 be able to work cohesively to manage any and all concerns, both now and proactively once the older adult’s needs change with time.
Grace Home Care is always on hand to assist as well, with our considerable experience in aging care and our attention to the individual needs of each older adult we have the honor of serving. Email or call us at 785-286-2273 to ask about our top-rated Topeka dementia care and senior care services, to obtain answers to the questions you have, or to request a no-cost in-home assessment in one of the many communities we serve.