Many elders are as mobile today as they were 20 years ago. For others, however, getting to appointments can be a challenge. This is especially problematic when it comes to doctor appointments, as attending them can be critical to a senior’s health and wellbeing. Fortunately, there is a new option some physicians are using in elder care settings called telemedicine.
With this approach, doctors can perform certain kinds of services remotely. For example, a conversation about whether a medication for depression or anxiety is having the desired effect on a person’s mental health can be conducted as a teleconference, since no physical examination is required.
Benefits of a Virtual Office Visit
While telemedicine does not work for all types
of visits, for those where it is effective, it provides a number of benefits
Easier access to healthcare providers. For a senior with mobility issues or who lives far from their doctor’s office, the option to simply sit in front of a device and talk with a physician in the comfort of their own elder care community can be fantastic.
Less time spent on healthcare. From showering and dressing to go out to an appointment to the hours spent traveling to and from the doctor’s office for what may be many appointments each month, the time elders invest in tending to their health can really add up. Eliminating the travel can give a senior a large chunk of their day back.
Avoiding the waiting room. For seniors whose immune system may be compromised, the less time spent in a waiting room with other potentially contagious patients the better.
Less dependence on others. Elders who no longer drive and rely on others for rides to doctor appointments feel good about the independence that telemedicine provides.
Greater sense of engagement. Being regularly carted to and from the doctor’s office can leave a senior feeling a little powerless. If even some of those visits can take place virtually and at a time of the elder’s choosing, that experience can help them feel empowered, more engaged and more interested in their care.
Enhanced connection with the physician. Because both parties know they have to be in front of the camera to be seen, elders often feel, somewhat counterintuitively, like they get more focused attention from their healthcare provider in telehealth visits.
Traditional Values and a Progressive Approach to Elder Care
At Green House Homes at Mirasol, we believe in traditional values like maintaining the dignity, engagement, and independence of seniors. We also believe in supporting those values in a unique way in our forward-thinking elder care communities. That’s why we see a great deal of potential in telemedicine and look forward to the continuing evolution of the field and its ability to serve seniors.