Geriatric Care vs. Adult Care: The Best for Mom

Our parents guide us through navigating the healthcare system from birth. Throughout our lives, we meet various specialists. We eventually take on our own healthcare responsibilities. As time goes on, we may need to help our parents with their healthcare needs. Our aging parents may require specialized geriatric care, which is different from traditional care. In this blog, we’ll discuss five key differences between traditional care and geriatric care. We will also dive into the role of a geriatric care manager in effective geriatric care management.

Alt-text: Adult daughter is smiling, facing her mom, as she wraps her arm around her.

1. Focuses on the Aging Population

As we progress from childhood to adulthood, the healthcare needs of our older parents become a focal point. While pediatric care ensures our well-being during our early years, the transition to adult care can be daunting. It’s important to note that as our parents age, they may require assistance in navigating the realm of geriatric care, leading to a role reversal in our caregiving journey.

Pediatric medical professionals play a central role in providing care for us from birth to around 18 or 21 years of age, depending on the healthcare system. However, as we shift to adult care, we may discover challenges in finding healthcare providers with the expertise to meet the needs of our older parents.

Our older parents may experience a growing list of health problems, such as memory issues and aging-related concerns. These issues often require specialized care beyond the scope of traditional adult providers. This lack of specialized care can lead to gaps in care. It can also lead to feelings of frustration for both you and your parents.

To address these challenges, geriatric care providers have specialized training to understand and meet the complex needs of seniors. Their patients are typically those aged 65 and older. Bridging this knowledge gap and taking a different approach to care contributes to geriatric providers vital role in ensuring comprehensive and tailored care for your parents.

2. Holistic Approach

Traditional adult care, while it may address our medical needs, it often falls short of providing a comprehensive view of our overall well-being. Using this limited approach can be problematic because it overlooks aspects of our lives that contribute to our well-being. This puts us at risk of not receiving the best care.

Unlike traditional adult healthcare, geriatric care uses a holistic approach. Geriatric care management goes beyond addressing just medical needs. Your parent’s care team will explore other areas that can impact their quality of life, such as social, emotional, and environmental factors, to name a few. Just because your parents are getting older does not mean their needs should be neglected. This is why having a geriatric care manager is so critical.

We consider multiple factors. This allows us to understand your parents’ unique needs, goals, and desires. Diving into these other factors lets us create a holistic care plan to meet your parents’ needs. Your mom and dad will have plans tailored to their unique needs. This means each of them will have their own care plan. However, their two care plans may have similarities.

For example, it is common for a care plan to include helping with daily activities, care coordination, and supporting family caregivers, to name a few. Maybe your parents are living independently. Yet, they struggle to care for their home. Their care team will help place them in a new care setting that better suits their needs.

This holistic approach comes from the understanding that treating people holistically can improve their overall quality of life.

3. Care Coordination

Throughout our lives, we plan our own care. We find our providers, schedule our appointments, and work out logistics. However, without training, we risk challenges in getting the best care, such as:

  • Struggle to find the best doctor for your needs because you are unaware of their ratings.
  • Underestimating how long an appointment or medical test takes, then running late to another commitment.
  • Experiencing transportation issues because your car is in the shop.
  • Procrastinating with scheduling your appointments because you forget or lack time.
  • You experience preventable medical errors because you do not know what questions to ask or fall victim to medical malpractice.

This is why using a geriatric care manager is so important. They work to mitigate these risks with coordinated care. Coordinated care is especially critical for older adults with chronic conditions and complex healthcare needs.

You may feel stressed out about your own care. And now, the thought of adding your parents’ care to the mix may make you feel more overwhelmed. You may not know where to start. That is okay! You are not the only one. This is normal. There is no need to stress. We have your back. We will support you and navigate the process together.

Our team of trained care managers often acts as liaisons between healthcare providers and families. Whether you live close or far away, our team will keep you informed about their care. You can count on our care managers to communicate with you. We will ensure your parents get comprehensive and coordinated care.

4. Long-Term Planning

As we navigate our own care, we often address our needs as they arise. However, the thought of planning for the long-term may not always be our priority. By not having a long-term care plan in place, we run the risk of gaps in our care. Maybe we miss our annual physical. It probably will not seem like the end of the world to us. However, missing appointments increases our risk of catching a serious health issue late. Thus causing a gap in care. Having a comprehensive, long-term plan in place can mitigate this gap. This ensures that our needs are met.

Our geriatric care managers understand that your parent’s needs, goals, and desires are unique. They will create a long-term plan for each of your parents, giving each of them a thorough assessment. This evaluation will consider their unique circumstances, ensuring their long-term care plan is tailored specifically to them. This personalized approach sets our service apart, making your parents feel valued and understood. Although each of their plans are personalized to them, there may be some commonalities across long-term care plans.

One example of this is navigating transitions between care settings. This can look different based on the situation. Are your parents no longer able to live independently? We can help place them in another care setting that better suits their needs. This may mean we place them in assisted living or a nursing home.

Now, let’s say your mom has an appointment. Yet, you have an unexpected work trip. No worries. Her appointment will not need to be rescheduled. We can figure out transportation for you.

Long-term planning is important because it can boost your parent’s care success. Yet, these four differences are not possible without advocacy.

5. Advocacy

Throughout your life, you have been responsible for advocating for yourself. You probably feel frustrated when you do not feel like you are being heard. When our health concerns are overlooked, this feeling of frustration increases. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many advocating for their own care. It is especially prevalent among those who are more vulnerable in this setting. In fact, it is estimated that that patients over the age of 50 are around 20% more likely to have health concerns overlooked.

Understanding this problem in healthcare increases the need for advocacy in their care. Therefore, having a geriatric care manager on your team is critical. We know how to navigate the world of healthcare. Our team will work tirelessly to advocate for your parents’ rights and preferences. This will ensure they are receiving the best care.