What seniors want from healthcare pros

By Carol Marak - Guest columnist

In recent years, medical professionals have been better at assessing an older patient’s status, circumstances and issues. The screening process that Medicare created for Wellness Checks has influenced the Medicare Advantage Insurance companies.

This past week I had a Medicare Wellness Checkup, but my doctor went much further into the assessment. She said my Advantage Plan now requires a 30-question survey.

It was filled with queries about safety at home, threats or abuse by anyone where I live, eating habits, ability to pay for food and bills, and a lot more. The feeling was of relief because someone is looking out for my best interests.

If you don’t receive surveys like this during your annual doctor visit, tell the medical staff they should add a social status questionnaire for seniors as a precautionary measure.

Some of the worrisome concerns most seniors have:

• Ageism — we desire recognition for our strengths and given a chance to offer our skills and to give back and be a productive member of society.

• Remain healthy without resorting to medication or surgery — we would enjoy learning alternatives to going under the knife or consuming various meds.

• Learn how others cope with issues, challenges; what worked for them, and then decide if it’s a good fit for us. And if the solution is not a fit, what other options might work?

• Discover useful local and national resources — we’d like to learn about community services, especially the ones that help us age in place. Some seniors don’t have advocates or family members who can research for us, so we depend on professionals

and friends for direction.

• Navigate health care issues an

d chronic illnesses — we want to thrive and be well even when living with diabetes, dementia, heart diseases, cancer and other diseases.

• Gain social interaction and connection and make new friends, but we may have difficulty leaving our house due to immobility concerns.

• Select a health care proxy and surrogate — we need help and direction when choosing someone to speak on our behalf if we should become too ill or incapacitated.

At the local community-based services and medical teams, the professionals can do so much more. Just recognizing the fact that we’re living alone, and then assess the risks, would help the older person understand what’s needed to remain safe, healthy, and independent even when no one is around to check on us.

Carol Marak is an aging advocate and editor at Seniorcare.com.

By Carol Marak

Guest columnist