With most seniors already seeing an array of doctors, can there be any real advantage to adding yet another? In the case of a geriatrician, the answer is a definite, “Yes!”
To answer the question, “What is a geriatrician and what do they do?” this type of specialist is board-certified in either internal or family medicine, similar to 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 people who are:
- Experiencing significant frailty and/or impairment
- Diagnosed with multiple chronic conditions
- Enduring a condition which causes substantial quantities of stress to family caregivers
With a holistic approach to care, a geriatric specialist will create an in-depth, individualized plan for aging that takes into consideration both past and current health history. The plan will address challenges such as activities of daily living (meals, personal hygiene, dressing, etc.) in addition to the particular challenges of the older adult’s diagnoses, combined with an evaluation of the home environment and care that is currently in position. The geriatrician will work closely together with the older adult’s support system – family, friends, and caregivers – to be certain all bases are covered in regards to meeting care needs.
Choosing the right geriatrician is essential. A great starting place is the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging (800-563-4916), which provides recommendations for geriatric specialists by area. Once you have a listing of well-qualified geriatricians in your area, you can refine your search by getting answers to these key questions:
- Is he or she covered under the older adult’s health 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, since this will be a crucial element 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 list of alternate providers until after you have scheduled your first appointment and determined that the individual you have selected will be a good fit.
Together with the geriatrician, a group of professionals with expertise in geriatric care will most likely be included, 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 problems, both now and proactively once the older adult’s needs change with time.
Live Free Home Health Care is always available to assist as well, using our considerable knowledge of aging care and our attention to the individual needs of each senior we have the honor of serving. Reach out to us at 603-217-0149 to request information about our top-rated home care in Concord, NH and the surrounding communities, to discover answers to the questions you have, or to request a free of charge in-home consultation.