Caring for Older Adults
Caring for Older Adults
As we age, our health needs change and so should the type of care we receive. In our younger years, people typically visit a primary care provider (PCP) who sees hundreds of people each day that span a wide age, making it challenging to have a meaningful relationship with the provider. Older adults need care that is created and delivered just for them.
When older adults are considering what PCP to trust with their health, they should think about the qualities that really matter to them, and what type of care they’re ultimately looking to receive. A practical and important first step is for a patient to check their health insurance plan to see what PCPs are covered. Many insurance providers have a composed list of potential primary care doctors in the area that their members can choose from.
Once armed with that information, it may be important to consider the number of patients a doctor is responsible for. For older adults, the opportunity to see your doctor more frequently and spend more time with them during each appointment may help to ensure that you’re really being heard and your health needs are being met.
Older adults should consider the current state of their health and ensure that their doctor can provide the type of care they need accordingly. Chronic conditions become more prevalent as we age, so if you have diabetes, for example, you may want to know that your primary care provider has specific experience treating that condition and can tailor your health plan just to you. Some doctor’s offices may provide services that extend beyond traditional expectations, such as mental health services, podiatry or even pharmacies. Depending on your needs, these may be important factors for you.
If you don’t currently live with a chronic condition, then it’s important for you and your doctor to create a plan that focuses on preventive care in order to maintain your health ongoing. Whether or not you have an existing health condition, your PCP should help you live your best, healthiest life.
Beyond the type of care received, seniors should think about the physical space itself. Is the location of the doctor’s office ideal or is it difficult to get to? Do you like how you feel when you’re inside the clinic itself? It’s important for seniors to regularly visit their provider for preventive checks-ups and care, so making sure it’s easy to get to and pleasant to be in is important.
Once you’ve decided on the primary care provider you’d like to visit, an initial appointment is a great opportunity to ask questions and determine if it feels like the right fit for you. First impressions are important, so don’t be afraid to spend the time you need in order to get the
information that will be most useful to you. Older adults should feel empowered in their health journey and in control of their decision to choose a care team and clinic that fits their needs.
Oak Street Health understands the needs of older adults and provides personalized, preventive primary care specifically to them. You can learn more about the type of care that Oak Street Health provides at www.oakstreethealth.com and find the nearest location to you at https://www.oakstreethealth.com/locations.
Dr. Dillon Miller is a primary care physician who has cared for older adults for 14 years. He is currently a Senior Medical Director at Oak Street Health, which currently operates six clinics in North Carolina. Oak Street Health understands the needs of older adults and provides personalized, preventive primary care specifically to them. You can learn more about the type of care that Oak Street Health provides at www.oakstreethealth.com and find the nearest location to you at https://www.oakstreethealth.com/locations.