With most seniors already seeing a variety of medical professionals, could there really be any advantage to adding yet another? In the case of geriatric specialists, the clear 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 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 numerous chronic conditions
- Battling a condition that causes significant quantities of stress to family caregivers
With a holistic approach to care, a geriatric specialist will create a comprehensive, customized plan for aging which takes into account both previous and current medical history. The plan will tackle issues such as activities of daily living (meals, personal hygiene, dressing, etc.) and the distinct challenges associated with the older adult’s diagnoses, together with an assessment of the home environment and care that is currently set up. The geriatrician will work directly with the older adult’s support network – family, friends, and caregivers – to ensure that all bases are covered in regards to meeting care needs.
Determining the best geriatrician is essential. An excellent starting place is the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging (800-563-4916), which offers recommendations to geriatric specialists by area. Once you have a listing of qualified geriatricians locally, you can narrow down your search by obtaining answers to these key questions:
- Is he or she covered under the senior’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, since this is going to be a fundamental aspect of the quality of your senior loved one’s care. Once you’ve chosen the geriatric specialist you’d like to try, hang onto the list of alternate providers until after you’ve booked the first appointment and determined that the one you’ve selected will be a good fit.
Together with the geriatrician, a group of experts with expertise in geriatric care will most likely be involved, which might consist of a social worker, nurse, dietitian, physical and occupational therapist, and psychiatrist. Ideally, the group will work cohesively to address any and all issues, both today and proactively as the senior’s needs change with time.
Home With You Senior Care is always on hand to assist as well, with our extensive 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 410-756-0959 to obtain additional information about senior care in Howard County, MD and surrounding areas, to discover answers to the questions you have, and to request a complimentary in-home assessment.