In This Chapter
Understanding the special medical needs of older adults
Finding the right doctors
Aging is a normal process, not a disease. But older people are more likely to have conditions that affect their ability to manage day-to-day life on their own and that require frequent checkups, often with several different doctors. They take many medications and over-the-counter preparations. They may also experience episodes of acute illness requiring a hospital stay.
The term geriatric care covers a wide spectrum of necessary services, but, most often, it refers to managing the medical side of aging — from doctors to hospitals to medications. Who is in charge of managing the medical side of long-term care for you or your parent or other relative? That answer used to be fairly simple: “The doctor who has treated my family for years.” In today's complex and constantly evolving healthcare system, the answer is all too often: “I guess it's the primary care provider from the health plan or maybe it's her cardiologist.” An honest answer might be: “Nobody seems to be in charge.”
This chapter outlines some steps to take to ensure ...