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Caring for Elderly Parents: 4 Ways Concierge Medicine Helps Caregivers

July 28th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Melissa Gifford

Daughter sitting and laughing with her aging father

One of the hardest things in life is taking care of elderly parents. Whether it’s your mom or dad, or your spouse’s mom or dad, helping manage their healthcare as they age is a challenge.

With age comes more complicated health problems for them and more stress for you. More than 38 million adults provide unpaid caregiving for a loved one, according to the AARP, and almost 40% of family caregivers find their situation “highly stressful.”

You want the best care for your parents or your in-laws, and it can be frustrating for them not to get it. They leave the doctor’s office without answers to their questions and without a plan to resolve whatever may be bothering them.

Enter concierge medicine, a model specifically built to remove all the hassles from the traditional primary care experience. Concierge doctors deliver patient, individualized care for every person centered on a deep personal relationship. 

As one of the leading concierge medicine practices since 2003, we’ve taken care of plenty of multi-generational families, from small children to parents to grandparents.

And one thing we hear often from caretakers is the sense of relief they feel that comes from just knowing their aging loved ones are in good hands.

As you take on more and more responsibility for the health of your parents or in-laws, concierge medicine can be a game-changer for their life and yours.

Here are four ways concierge medicine helps you care for elderly parents.

Elderly father, adult son, and his son walking in park

1. You can count on timely access to care when they need it.

One thing about health and aging is that things happen quickly. One day everything is fine and dandy. The next, a new issue pops up.

As a caretaker with your own schedule – perhaps you're a busy professional and/or a busy mom juggling a packed schedule – that sudden change can be a major problem and stressor.

In traditional primary care, getting an appointment quickly in those times can be a challenge. It’s not the doctor’s fault. These days, they have too many patients and not enough time in the day to see them efficiently. It’s one of the problems of the traditional primary care model.

The result? It can feel like your elderly parents or in-laws are getting left in the wind.

Concierge doctors see fewer patients overall, which allows them to offer same-day or next-day scheduling for acute care appointments and 24/7 access to physician care. When that issue pops up suddenly, you know they can at least get care quickly over the phone, if not actually see their own doctor within 24 hours.

For them, it’s the care they deserve. For you, it solves the problem of “ok, what now?” when a new health issue arrives.

How? Because the answer is always “Let's call your doctor.”

2. You can trust they will get the personalized care they need.

Getting older can create complicated health situations, often with a variety of factors stacked on top of each other.

One thing that can be frustrating is having to explain it all to the doctor and feeling like you’re starting from scratch every time your loved one sees the doctor.

Because concierge doctors see fewer patients, they can also guarantee more time with each patient. Most concierge medicine appointments last at least 30 minutes.

This means your aging parents or in-laws have the time to establish a personal relationship with their doctor and that doctor has the time to really focus on their whole health picture.

It means the doctor isn't rushing to the next patient, and it means your loved one is going to leave the office with answers to their questions because their doctor had the time to deliver the personalized care they deserve.

Elderly woman laughing with healthcare professional

3. You don’t have to worry about scheduling specialist appointments.

You’re living your own busy life. You manage your own job, your home, your children’s lives, and probably your spouse’s life, too.

As your parents or in-laws age, they’re likely to require a few specialists as well. Now, in addition to making sure they’re seeing their primary care doctor, you also are involved in managing their specialist appointments.

Instead of making sure they are getting one appointment, you’re making sure they’re getting two, three, maybe more.

With concierge medicine, you can hand that responsibility over to the practice.

Most concierge practices offer some form of what’s called coordination of specialist care. That means the practice handles scheduling appointments with your loved one’s specialists.

And then after their appointments, the practice makes sure any medical records and results get back to their primary care doctor, so they always have the most up-to-date and accurate picture of their health.

At PartnerMD, we call it quarterbacking their care, and it can be a huge relief for you to pass that responsibility onto someone else.

Daughter happy and hugging her elderly mother

4. You get peace of mind from knowing they are in good hands.

Last but certainly not least, switching your elderly parents or in-laws to concierge medicine can provide a sense of relief and peace of mind for your life. We’d say it’s intangible. But from our experience, caretakers really can feel the weight lift off their shoulders.

You know they are good hands. And you know when something does happen, they’ll be able to get the care they need when they need it.

You’ve got enough to worry about. And even if it’s in the back of your mind, just knowing your loved ones have found the right home for their healthcare can be a huge relief.

Concierge Medicine for Your Elderly Parents & In-Laws: Next Steps

Concierge medicine is all about delivering a better healthcare experience. It removes the hurdles from the traditional primary care model and builds an experience around the patient.

For people in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond who require attentive, convenient care, it can be exactly what they need to best manage their health.

And for you, it can be exactly what you need to live a less stressful life yourself. Two birds. One stone.

Interesting in learning more about concierge medicine? Download our Understanding Concierge Medicine ebook.

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Melissa Gifford