Looking for a Doctor for Your Aging Parent or Loved One? Here’s How to Choose the Best Senior-friendly Physician
Those who are the primary caregivers of an aging parent know this: Finding a good doctor is never easy. Yet, it is important to find the right senior-friendly physician who can provide timely, quality medical care for your loved one. And if the elderly you are caring for has dementia or chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, the challenge just gets tougher. You might need a geriatrician or a specialist in addition to your primary care doctor.
Choosing a senior-friendly doctor is one of the most vital decisions you can make for your aging loved one. You want the doctor to be competent, duly certified, and preferably backed by a solid background in elderly care.
Things to consider when choosing a doctor for a senior
When choosing a doctor for an elderly, there are things you should consider. First in the list is board certification, because you want a doctor with extensive experience in managing the health problems of older adults. Pick someone with the right education and training.
The doctor’s ability to communicate well with seniors is also important. You would want someone who will genuinely listen to you and your aging parent about your concerns. A senior-friendly physician is someone who is willing to answer your questions and provide straightforward answers in a caring and respectful manner. Ideally, the best doctor for the elderly is someone who is willing to render home visits or offer in-home options like sending a health professional to your home for bloodwork or for routine assessments.
Another thing to take into consideration is whether a physician’s clinic is nearby. You would want a doctor whose office is located in an area that’s easy to get to. The clinic should have handicap-accessible parking spaces as well.
The hospital a doctor affiliates with and the colleagues who cover for him when he is out of town are also things you should take note of.
Furthermore, you would want a doctor who is included in the list of physicians covered by Medicare or by your loved one’s insurance provider. And if he is, he or she should be willing to accept Medicare or insurance fixed payments. Payment methods accepted is an important consideration as well.
How and where to find the best doctors for seniors
Once you have an idea what to look for in a physician you would want to provide medical care for your aging loved one, the next task is to start the actual search. Below are some tips to guide you.
Ask your friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances.
The people that you personally know are great sources for names of reputable doctors. Your cousin who cares for your aging aunt may know a good cardiologist or your next-door neighbor might know a geriatrician in your community.
Contact local hospitals, senior centers, or the local pharmacy.
Hospitals, allied medical professionals, and senior centers can provide you with a list of doctors who have the training to provide care for the elderly. If speaking with people who are able to give you names of physicians, do not hesitate to ask them what they like about these doctors.
Search senior care referral websites.
Senior care referral sites are the best resources when you are looking for the best doctor for your aging parent or loved one. Our website, Senior Service Maps, for example, maintains a well-curated database of reputable physicians from all over the United States. To search for a doctor using our streamlined search, all you need to do is indicate the type of physician you’re looking for (e.g. cardiologist, general practice, nephrologist, geriatrician, etc.) and the preferred location.
By using our free service, you will have access to the professional profile pages of physicians. You can also take virtual tours of their clinics, browse their galleries, and even schedule for appointments.
Read online reviews.
Online reviews can provide you with insight on the quality of care a physician provides to his or her patients. These reviews, though not the sole basis of your decision as to whether a doctor is the best one for your parent or relative, can reveal a lot about the medical professional and his practice.
Schedule a consultation.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of choices to about two or three names, you need to call their offices to schedule a consultation. Scheduling a visit to these doctors is important because you don’t want to choose someone who is not a “right fit” for the senior in your family.
To determine if a doctor is the right one or just looks great on paper, you need to talk to him or her personally. It would be best if your senior loved one can talk to the doctor as well so you can observe how the physician interacts with patients. Your loved one should feel comfortable with the physician and the people working in the office or clinic.
Take the visit as opportunity for you to ask all the questions you want to ask about his services, staff members, education, training, affiliations, fees, admission privileges, and his experience in managing the health needs and concerns of the elderly. To ensure that you will be able to cover everything, prepare a list of the questions you want to ask in advance.
Photo Credit: Wise Geek
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