With most seniors already seeing a multitude of doctors, is there really any benefit to adding yet another? When it comes to a geriatric specialist, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
A geriatrician is board-certified either in internal or family medicine, much like a primary care physician, but with the additional benefit of being certified in geriatric medicine. Specialized geriatric services are recommended in particular by the American Geriatrics Society for those who are:
- Experiencing significant frailty and/or impairment
- Diagnosed with numerous chronic conditions
- Battling a condition which causes significant levels of stress to family caregivers
With a holistic approach to care, a geriatric specialist will create a detailed, personalized plan for aging which takes into account both previous and current medical history. The plan will tackle topics such as activities of daily living (meals, personal hygiene, dressing, etc.) and also the particular challenges associated with the older adult’s diagnoses, as well as an evaluation of the home environment and care that is currently in position. The geriatrician will work directly with the senior’s support system – family, friends, and caregivers – to be certain all bases are covered as it pertains to meeting care needs.
Finding the right geriatrician is key. A good starting place is the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging (800-563-4916), which offers recommendations for geriatric specialists by location. After you have a listing of well-qualified geriatricians in your area, you can refine 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 will also want to be sure the geriatrician communicates well, as this will be a critical component to the quality of your senior loved one’s care. After you’ve selected the geriatric specialist you would like to try, hang on to the listing of alternate providers until after you’ve scheduled the first appointment and determined that the individual you have chosen will likely be a good fit.
Besides the geriatrician, a team of geriatric services professionals will most likely be involved, which might consist of 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 problems, both today and proactively as the older adult’s needs change over the years.
The Hearts at Home senior care experts are always on hand to assist as well, with our thorough experience in aging care and our attention to the specific needs of each senior we have the honor of serving. Reach out to us at 913-440-4209 to learn more about our home care services in Kansas City and surrounding areas, to obtain additional resources, or to discover answers to your questions. We also offer a cost-free in-home assessment.