BetterHealthWhileAging.net (formerly GeriatricsForCaregivers.net) is a low-profit health education project. It’s meant to provide practical, actionable information for family caregivers, grounded in what geriatricians believe to be optimal healthcare for older adults. (Wondering if you are a caregiver? Click here.)
The primary author is me, Dr. Leslie Kernisan. I’m a board-certified geriatrician: a doctor specialized in adapting medical care to better fit the needs of aging adults.
I began writing about geriatrics for family caregivers in 2008, because as a doctor I’d noticed that families often have difficulty finding good, practical suggestions on how to handle the common health challenges of late life. These include problems such as:
- Memory concerns
- Medication side-effects
- Managing multiple chronic conditions
- Declines in independence
- Planning for end-of-life and health crises
- Older adults resisting help or care
Better Health While Aging is based on the following ideas:
- Many older adults benefit from a geriatric approach to healthcare. This means medical care that has been suitably adapted to better fit the needs of aging adults. To learn more about whether the geriatric approach can help your older loved one (which it almost certainly can), see “Why Geriatrics.” If you’re in your sixties or seventies, and want to learn why geriatrics is not just for the “old-old,” see this post.
- People need health information that helps them understand their health problems, and their options for feeling better. Knowledge is power, and can also help reduce anxiety. I believe in helping people be informed and proactive, and I support the participatory medicine movement.
- Family caregivers are often a key resource in helping aging adults manage health needs. Of course, people of all ages need help and support when facing health challenges. But when it comes to older adults, I’ve found that family members are especially likely to be involved long-term…and in truth, we geriatricians often can’t do our work without the help of family.
- Proactive patients and families get better healthcare. I wish I didn’t have to say this, but the truth is that it’s risky to assume the healthcare system will provide good care to an older adult, because often, it doesn’t. At this time, many healthcare providers aren’t equipped to consistently provide good care to vulnerable older adults. So it’s important to be informed and ready to help ensure the care you get is a good fit for your loved one’s needs and situation.
I hope you’ll find the information here useful. In geriatrics, we don’t yet have a lot of experience in teaching what we know directly to family caregivers. So please feel free to provide feedback!
Ready for some geriatrics health information? Visit the Geriatrics for Caregivers Blog, or start with Popular Topics. We also have a special section of the site dedicated to those of you who are helping older parents.