With most seniors already seeing an array of doctors, could there really be any benefit to adding one more? In the case of a specialized doctor for the elderly, the 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 advantage 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
- Enduring a condition which causes substantial levels of stress to family caregivers
With a holistic strategy of care, a geriatric specialist creates a comprehensive, individualized 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.) together with the specific challenges associated with the older adult’s diagnoses, along with an evaluation of the home environment and care that is currently in place. The geriatrician will work closely together with the older adult’s support system – family, friends, and caregivers – to make certain that all bases are covered in regards to meeting care needs.
Discovering the right geriatrician is critical. A great starting place is the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging (800-563-4916), which provides recommendations to geriatric specialists by area. Once you have a list of well-qualified geriatricians in your town, you can narrow down your search by getting answers to these key questions:
- Is he or she 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 be sure the geriatrician communicates well, because this will be a crucial aspect of the quality of your senior loved one’s care. When you’ve selected the geriatric specialist you’d like to try, hang on to the list of alternate providers until after you have set up the first appointment and decided that the one you’ve chosen will be a good fit.
Besides the geriatrician, a team of experts with experience in geriatric care will probably be included, which might include a social worker, nurse, dietitian, physical and occupational therapist, and psychiatrist. Ideally, the team will work cohesively to manage any and all concerns, both now and proactively once the older adult’s needs change over time.
At-Home Care Company is always readily available to help as well, using our significant knowledge of aging care and our focus on the specific needs of each senior we have the honor of serving. Email or call us at (515) 292-2650 to learn more about our top-rated in home care in Des Moines, IA and the surrounding communities, to locate answers to your questions, or to ask about a free in-home assessment.