What is Geriatrics?
Geriatrics is a field of medicine that encompasses only the elderly, and unlike common misconception, geriatrics simply refers to the maintaining of a healthy quality of life for the elderly. Geriatrics is a medical branch in its own right, as it is a different variety of medicine. Most Geriatrics consist of assessment tests that are aimed at determining the ability of a senior citizen to live independently. These assessment tests will look at health, physical ability, and mental health.
There is no minimum age for geriatric care, as individuals age differently. Geriatric care also differs greatly from adult health care. Due to the changes in the physiology of the elderly, special medicine is needed, as regular doses would do more harm than good. Also, this medicine needs to be administered in a certain way, so only one trained in Geriatrics should be giving the doses. There are several different fields of Geriatrics, much like other medicinal fields. Seeking the right doctor is something that a Geriatric Assessment test can help with.
Special care for the elderly has been a main stay in the field of medicine for centuries. Scientifically, Geriatrics helps millions of senior citizens lead comfortable lives, and sometimes independent lives. The special care administered will prolong life and allow the Senior to live alone, or with minimal help. However, there comes a time when all senior citizens require some form of aid. Luckily, there are several facilities that offer Geriatric Care Managers, giving the senior's family peace of mind that their loved one is being looked after properly. Deciding to get a Geriatric Assessment for a loved one can be a difficult decision for both, but it would be a wise one. Geriatrics will enhance the life of both parties, and will ultimately lead to happiness for bother the senior, and the rest of the family.
The Geriatric Assessment Test
The Geriatric assessment test will consist of several steps, all leading to a final plan that will address the specific needs of the patient, and include avenues in which the patient can attain this treatment. There are several areas covered in the assessment test, including:
- An overall health examination. The assessor will begin by conducting several tests to determine the physical health of the patient. There will also be tests that will gauge the mental health of the patient. Both of these will determine the ability of a senior to function independently.
- A social and family outlet review. All aspects of the senior's life will be taken into consideration. This particular test will determine the amount of outside help available to the senior, should any emergency occur that the senior is unable to handle independently.
- A genealogical review of family history. This will allow the assessor to foresee future problems, and take appropriate precautions to help prevent them. This is a major section of the test, as the anticipation of what lies ahead is crucial for the maintaining of an independent lifestyle for senior citizens. The results of this test will better help doctors create specialized treatment plans for the patient, and the senior can also alter their lifestyle based on these results.
- The development of a comprehensive care plan. After all of the previous tests are completed, the assessor will contact others in the Geriatric field, where necessary, to create the best plan possible for that individual. The plan will consist of treatment schedules which will include preventative measures, such as disease screenings and the administering of prescription drugs.
- The development of a social plan. After the medical aspects have been covered, the living situation that the senior is in will be taken into consideration. Should the senior pass the physical aspect, chances are they will be able to live independently. However, if the test found that they were unable to perform tasks required for comfortable living, or a lack of social support, then it may be recommended that they be moved into a retirement home. If the senior is near family, then it would be suggested that they move in with other family members.
- Dedication to the patient. The plan will also make it clear that the Geriatric care manager who administered the tests will follow up with the patient. This includes making sure that they are receiving the medical attention that was outlined in the plan, and that their living arrangements are in order. This will assure the family and the patient that they will never be alone, and there will always be an outlet in which they can pursue help.
Signs that Indicate a Need for a Geriatric Assessment Test
Unfortunately, many seniors do not get the care that they should be getting. This is largely due to a lack of knowledge, and to stubbornness. It is very important that a Geriatric assessment test be sought after if any of the following symptoms should occur:
- A lack of interest. Should your loved one exhibit signs of depressions, or to be putting off the things that they once enjoyed, then it would be wise to get them a Geriatric assessment. This symptom can be a precursor of a number of conditions, and a thorough geriatric assessment will help to determine if it is serious or not.
- Memory loss or general confusion. Memory loss can be a disheartening symptom for the loved ones of the elderly. Most often associated with Alzheimer's disease, memory loss can be a serious symptom. However, many seniors who experience memory loss benefit greatly from Geriatric medication, which should remedy the symptom. If your loved one also exhibits confusion then an assessment test should be pursued. This confusion can be the result of them not understanding simple sentences, directions, or other previously understandable concepts.
- Dementia. Dementia is a serious symptom, and should be looked at immediately. Unlike normal memory loss, Dementia is a sharp decline in one's ability to perform simple tasks, and their ability to remember.
- A decrease in physical ability. If your loved one has trouble standing up, or reaching to get something off a shelf, then chances are they need a Geriatric test. The main concern is that they will injure themselves when alone, and will not be able to seek help. The first signs of physical decline warrant an assessment test.
What is a Geriatric Care Manager?
Typically, a Certified Geriatric Care Manager has the qualifications of a medical doctor. The only difference would be that their expertise is geared toward the elderly, rather than the younger populace. Geriatric Care Managers hold advanced degrees, and are well trained to optimize the living conditions of senior citizens. If a senior or a loved one has any questions about living arrangements or general health, then a Geriatric Care Manager is the best available resource to find an answer.
Not only are Geriatric Care Managers medical doctors, but they also serve as a psychological guide for senior citizens and their families. Should there be any questions regarding the living conditions or mental health of the patient, then the care manager will be there every step of the way, offering guidance and alternatives. The care manager will also ensure that you and your loved ones receive all the care and benefits for which they are eligible for. This includes the options available with their health insurance, and the benefits offered by local homes and hospitals.
Just How Valuable is a Geriatric Care Manager?
The value of a Geriatric Care Manager cannot be measured. The care manager will oversee the entire care plan, making sure that the senior is comfortable and receiving appropriate care. They will also be able to help the family and the senior communicate, and to help the senior become involved in the area that they live in. The Geriatric Care Manager can also help the family with major decisions, such as legal issues or an unexpected emergency. The Geriatric Care Manager will also remain in contact with doctors and others involved in the care of the patient, making sure that everything in the Geriatric Assessment Plan is being covered, so the family doesn't have to worry about it.
Other benefits include:
- General guidance regarding the current status and living conditions of the senior.
- Constant care for the senior resulting in better long term health.
- Assistance in decisions regarding financial matters, such as legal fees or health care bills.
- Psychological services for the senior or their family.
What is the Cost of Geriatric Management and Where can I Find a Geriatric Care Manager?
Bear in mind that the advice Certified Geriatric Care Managers provide will save you money, but with that being said, you can expect hourly rates for their service to be in the low hundreds. Geriatric Care Managers provide health care and psychological aid to the patient. This will save doctor visits and help prevent other expensive health issues, thus warranting their high wages. Geriatric managers are available in most cities, and in order to find one you can simply call the local retirement home or hospital to get a referral.