What do you do, when you are the sandwich generation and you are simply not living close enough to keep a close eye on your aging loved ones? Well, first there is the Ideal Life monitoring devices that has been used recently; a wireless device fitted into the homes of your aging parents enabling faraway carers to keep a close eye on their loved ones. As well, it provides caregivers who are in the vicinity with all the individual’s necessary information.
Vis-à-vis other technological devices, there are various products that can dispense the correct number of pills; track sleep patterns and bathroom activity and also monitor blood pressure.
There are other things one can do from faraway as well. For example, keeping in close contact with the individual through video chats/Skype is recommended. You – or someone near by – will probably need to set this up for them ahead of time and teach them how to use it. Doing this, can give you an idea of their health, just by looking at them; if they are deteriorating you will probably be able to get some kind of sense of it by seeing how they look on a regular basis and noting any dramatic changes that might occur. In this realm, you should also ensure your loved one is being regularly assessed and monitored by a geriatric care manager. He or she will also be able to set up services at home and ensure other services are being offered to the patient should the need arise.
Also, it’s a good idea to ensure there is someone nearby in case of emergency, or just for company; keep in touch with that person. From where you are though, you can be sure to have all their medical records up-to-date and on-hand should you need them.
Watch out for small clues – perhaps they didn’t wash their hair or the house is unkempt; did they pay all their bills as they usually do? – this will give you a clue as to whether you need to pay a visit.
It can be done. These days with the technology available, a lot can be achieved even when you are far away.
Every year in America, the needs of the elderly population become greater as increasing amounts of baby boomers enter the third stage of their lives. This thus needs to be addressed. And so, the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Winthrop-University Hospital is now offering administered care via a whole slew of different multilevel expert health providers.
In general, the division of this hospital has been providing expert care for the elderly in Long Island for many years so knows the ropes. It offers both primary and specialized care to geriatrics. Included in this is preventive measures; immunizations; family support; patient education; screenings; chronic and acute healthcare issues; geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychological evaluation; medication reviews; counseling and more.
San Antonio Seniors receive a lot of assistance from the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit, located at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital. Since it opened in June 2010, seniors have been given the opportunity to receive emotional, spiritual, medical and social care. To date, close to 800 patients have been treated.
The center has 10 rooms, all designed with seniors in mind. For example, every room is fitted with a restraint-free pressure bed which can be lowered right down to the floor. This helps reduce the incidence of falls and bedsores, common in the elderly. As well, the rooms have convertible love seats for those visiting.
ACE Unit Advantage
One of the advantages of the ACE Unit is that if seniors have to be helped medically, they often will not have to go to the ER, and instead can be immediately treated at the center. They will be evaluated straight away by a nurse practitioner or attending geriatrician and admitted right there rather than having to move to an office for the administrative process. As well there are clinicians who are in direct talks with the patient’s primary care physician so that they can comprehensively work out the best way forward.
Almost 50 more mental health care workers will be hired in Eastern Ontario to help with the more challenging patients suffering from dementia and other such aggressive neurological disorders. Close to $4m is being provided for the overall program that is aiming to ensure better care for such patients, especially for those in nursing homes. In addition, it is hoped that these additional monies will keep more people out of nursing homes (and in their own homes). Further, according to interim chief executive of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, Chantal LeClerc, there are people who are put in hospital just because they are waiting to be placed in long-term-care homes; they shouldn’t really be there, especially as they have difficult behaviors.
Within a few months’ it is hoped that the first of these nurses with special training will be working in the over 60 nursing homes that houses these individuals. Other plans are for a new secure unit to be constructed at one of the nursing homes which will enable short-term stays for those who require intensive medical help before they can go home. It is a great alternative to hospitals.
Geriatric doctors do not exactly have the most well-respected reputation in the medical industry. But sometimes, that can be an attraction. At least it was for Dr. Adrian Wagg. He kept on hearing that working with seniors was boring and certainly not even close to the glamor one gets as a heart surgeon. It also wasn’t as exciting as being an ER doctor and the pay isn’t much to write home about either. So why go into that field? (This is probably why there is such a shortage of these doctors – who, as our population ages and we fight off more diseases and there is an increase of seniors – are few and far between). Indeed, according to Statistics Canada, in Canada today there are 4.2 million seniors – a figure that is expected to increase to 9.8 million in the next 25 years. With only 230 geriatricians to serve them, there is a severe shortage.
Unpopular Medical Choice
Clearly it’s not a profession young doctors want to take on either. Out of these 230 in Canada, a mere seven are under the age of 35. It is said that a good 500 more Geriatricians are required for the country. This really shouldn’t be so difficult given that there are many qualified doctors there, who just choose other areas of expertise. Looking at ER doctors for example, the country has 628 of these, with 46 being under the 35-year group. And when it comes to the antithesis of Geriatrics, Canada has a staggering 2,372 pediatricians, of whom 152 are younger than 35.
Geriatrics in the UK
Interestingly, the situation is somewhat different in the UK. It is quite a popular choice of residency, perhaps due to the fact that it is one of the few specialties without caps on positions. Dr. Wagg found one of his teachers very influential there and thus wanted to follow in his footsteps and today is director of geriatric medicine at the University of Alberta. For him personally, become a Geriatrician was particularly attractive because it would enable him to work in both academia and practice as a doctor. It has also been pointed out how important it is to understand the ageing population as truthfully, every patient is aging! So more medical students really need to consider this field as a career option.