What to expect in an aging assessment
People who have age-related medical, psychological, cognitive or social issues that interfere with daily life may benefit from an aging assessment. Individuals may be referred to the Center by a family physician, relatives, concerned friends, social service agencies or other health care providers. A written order from the individual’s primary care physician helps us communicate more effectively with the patient’s doctor.
This 1½- to 2-hour appointment includes an interview and examination by a board-certified geriatric physician. A social services liaison may be called in as needed.
The assessment reviews overall health history and current health status. Patients are also screened for cognitive problems, incontinence, falls, depression, nutritional status and other age-related concerns. At the end, findings and recommendations are discussed with the patient and family. The geriatric health team will make appropriate referrals if more diagnostic testing or specialty services are needed.
What happens after the first visit?
Following the evaluation, the patient’s referring doctor will receive the geriatrician’s report summarizing the findings and listing any recommendations. Patients may also receive referrals to local agencies and specialty services. These may include geriatric psychiatry, neuropsychology, physical therapy, nutrition and others as needed.
Follow-up appointments can be made as appropriate.
What role does the family play?
An assessment can help family members and caregivers better understand the needs and concerns of the patient. We encourage relatives and caregivers to attend the initial visit to lend support and provide additional information as needed. Often the geriatric team will suggest ways to reduce daily frustrations for everyone concerned. Communicating with family members who live far away can help them feel more comfortable about the care provided to the patient.
Learn more about support services at the Center for Healthy Aging
What about cost and insurance coverage?
Traditional Medicare and private insurance generally cover the majority of costs associated with a geriatric assessment. Costs not covered by insurance are the responsibility of the patient or the family. Additional tests or specialty services ordered at the time of the visit will be billed separately by the hospital department providing the service.
Mental health conditions such as depression are common in later life. A geriatric psychiatrist is a physician highly trained in the management of emotional and behavioral problems related to aging. Interventions may include both counseling and medication. Individuals may be referred by themselves, their family or a physician.
Learn more about Geriatric Psychiatry