Today, more than 10,000 Americans turn senior every day. As a result of the Baby Boomer generation, this daily trend will continue for the next 10 years. What’s more, today’s seniors are living longer lives than ever before. Wellness for seniors is an ongoing process that involves specialized attention. Huntington geriatric medical group, CA is pleased to offer expert geriatric services that keep seniors healthier and happier.
What Are Geriatric Services?
The word “geriatric age” simply refers to older people, but as the saying goes, age is only a number. Today, there are septuagenarians running marathons and octogenarians in sports tournaments. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for senior care; all seniors are different in their individual needs. There are, however, commonalities in older people that create the need for geriatric services.
These services aren’t simply a matter of specialized medical care. They also include strategies and supervision for diet and medications, physical activity, mental stimulation, social engagement, and the maintenance of independent ability. While no two seniors are exactly alike, there are two blanket statements that we can usefully apply here.
Seniors Want to Age Independently
Survey after survey indicates that more than three-quarters of all seniors want to “age in place” in their own homes. This independent aging provides positive feelings of familiarity and autonomy to the senior. However, as people age and become less active, independent aging can come at a cost of isolation and lack of adequate attention, leading to health and safety risks. Geriatric services can help.
Seniors Live With Chronic Health Conditions
Simple wear and tear on the body over the course of aging is responsible for many senior health conditions, such as osteoarthritis and cognitive or sensory decline. Beyond the ordinary, however, some 80% of older Americans live with a chronic disease, and 77% have at least two. Common among these conditions are diabetes, COPD, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension to name only a few. Our geriatric services take these variables into account in treating and guiding patients.
Proactive, Not Reactive
Perhaps the most important philosophy in geriatric care is the idea of proactive health and wellness strategies rather than reactive healthcare treatments. The idea is to set a course for healthy living that includes diet, activity, sleep, and disease management, among other factors. Setting this healthy “baseline” can stave off later physical and mental health problems, many of which can be prevented.
Some of the most common challenges that seniors face, and where geriatric services provide value, include the following:
The most cited physical challenge among seniors is mobility. One in three people aged 65 and older falls each year, accounting for three million emergency room visits. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in seniors. Geriatric services can assess mobility health and provide guidance for improving mobility and safety.
It is often difficult for elderly people to shop for and prepare nutritious meals each day. As a result, many seniors don’t eat properly, which opens the door for new health problems and makes existing problems harder to live with. Proper hydration is just as important as dietary intake. Our geriatric expertise will help make recommendations on solving this often-knotty issue.
We rationalize it as “well, that’s just getting older” and think that mild cognitive decline is to be expected in old age. More serious declines, however, such as dementia, can be crippling to seniors and their family caregivers. The isolation that often comes with independent aging can speed the onset of faculty breakdown. Our services can help both patients and their families strategize and cope.
Isolation is a common side effect of independent aging – it’s simply more difficult for seniors to safely get around. Diminished contact with family and friends can lead to a decline in mood and even contribute to depression. Researchers believe that loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Our services can advise on solutions that keep these vital connections intact.
A Team Effort
Critical to the success of seniors’ ability to age well is the role that their informal care network plays. These are the family members, friends, and neighbors that look after elderly loved ones. There are 65 million of these family caregivers in America – more than 30% of all adults. These informal caregivers are critical to the success of aging well for their loved ones. They are the ones most closely tied to the senior’s well-being.
The geriatrician – a doctor specializing in geriatric patients – can be seen as both a physician and a guidance counselor for the senior and their family care network. Our services can help develop a workable plan for the entire care circle that proactively maintains physical and emotional wellness. Expert geriatric care includes medical attention, and our office offers an appropriate response for the immediate events and scares that come with elderly independence.
A Team Player
More importantly, our expert geriatric care can help seniors and their families better manage today’s wellness, which makes tomorrow’s wellness better too. Staying on top of chronic conditions, making medical referrals to specialists when needed, and developing roadmaps for successful activities for daily living and independent ability are only a few of the ways our geriatric counseling can benefit both the seniors and their families. Aging well is a fundamental goal for seniors. Call Huntington Lifestyle Partners in Pasadena, CA for a consultation on how we can help achieve it.