Personalized Care: What Every Older Adult Wants and Deserves
Over the past two years, doctor visits certainly have changed. Virtual calls and online communications are now as common as traditional office visits. The shift may be convenient, but for older adults, it’s not always easy to adapt to this new way of interacting. And when doctor visits of any kind typically last only a few minutes, how can older adults make sure their concerns and preferences are clearly understood? That’s what makes the idea of “person-centered” care so appealing.
R-e-s-p-e-c-t, Find Out What It Means to Us
Personalized care takes an individual’s preferences, needs, and values into careful consideration before making any clinical decisions. This respectful approach empowers people to take charge of their own health, with their doctor and family in agreement, every step of the way.
Everyone wants this type of care, even if they don’t know the term for it. Older adults, in particular, often count on a family member as they struggle to keep up with doctors’ appointments for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and memory issues. Not all family caregivers have the bandwidth, however, to create and keep up with a personalized care plan.
According to a 2020 study by AARP and the National Alliance for Care, three out of five family caregivers work full or part time at a paying job and spend the equivalent of another part-time job as caregivers. And 26% of those surveyed have difficulty coordinating care.
Professional Care Management
In our experience working with older adults facing health care challenges, Professional Care Managers (also known as Aging Life Care Managers® or Geriatric Care Managers) make all the difference. These caring professionals are uniquely qualified to provide the resources, experience, and support needed to help older adults achieve their health goals and receive the highest level of care. They also serve as advocates during medical appointments, help implement the medical providers’ recommendations, and enhance communication among the healthcare team.
Better Health, Longer Life, What’s Not to Love?
The benefits of providing such a personalized approach are not new or all that surprising when you think about it. Researchers from Harvard Medical School, on behalf of Picker Institute and The Commonwealth Fund, defined eight principles of such care in 1987. Here’s what it can mean for older adults and their families:
- Fast access to reliable healthcare advice
- Effective treatment by trusted professionals
- Continuity of care and smooth transitions
- Involvement and support for family and caregivers
- Clear information, communication, and support for self-care
- Involvement in decisions and respect for preferences
- Emotional support, empathy, and respect
- Attention to physical and environmental needs
We offer guidance about personalized care through our Smart Aging™ program. Please call us at 713-624-4288 for a free phone consultation.
About Janet Jackson-McCulloch
Janet Jackson-McCulloch, Founder and President of Elder Advisory Group, established her firm to help older adults and their families make crucial care management decisions with confidence. As an Aging Life Care® Professional, she and her team of experts make Smart Aging™ the new reality. Elder Advisory Group’s personalized tools and strategies, vital resources, and trustworthy advice and advocacy give clients better health, greater freedom, and real peace of mind.