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Health Advocacy - Aging Wisely

Today I enjoyed meeting with a local AARP chapter and providing some information about geriatric care management. Once again, I was not surprised that only one person raised her hand when I asked if anyone had ever heard of geriatric care management. I make it my mission to try to get more hands raised when that question is asked, so people at least know it is an option. With so many people caregiving, we all need to know the resources.

The group had good questions and many of the same concerns I hear often. We especially talked a lot about issues like knowing you have picked a good doctor and concerns about care quality. One gentleman expressed his concern about being admitted to a hospital on a weekend due to perceived care issues. There is some empirical evidence to back him up, so his worry is not without merit, though a lot of hospitals have worked hard on this issue. It is a good issue to focus on, though–getting linked with the best professionals and best quality of care make a big difference. We talked a lot about the need to be your own advocate (and do your research/homework) or have one with you when you are ill (or even facing a diagnosis, surgery, etc.). I’m a big proponent of that and have seen where a professional advocate can make a big difference as a family faces the emotions involved. Families often tell me “I wouldn’t have a clue how to review the medical chart or what questions to ask.” and those things can make a big difference. Good to keep in mind.

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