Choosing An Orthopedic Surgeon

Choosing an orthopedic surgeon can stir up a variety of emotions. On one hand, you might be optimistic about resolving ongoing joint or back pain issues. On the other hand, it might cause some anxiety. In most cases, your primary care physician will recommend that you make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon or specialist. When picking the one that’s best for you, there are many things to keep in mind. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when deciding on an orthopedic surgeon or specialist.

Get A Referral

Your first port of call along your journey should be consulting with your primary care physician or doctor. Ask them for a list of orthopedic specialists in the area that they recommend, and if there are any in particular they think would be a good fit for you. It’s also worth asking your family and friends about, especially if they’ve had issues that required the consultation of an orthopedic specialist in the past.

orthopedic surgeon

Research Online

Once you’ve narrowed your list a bit, pull up your web browser and conduct a search. You can try typing in their name directly, or just enter the type of specialist you need and your area. For instance, if you live in Richmond, VA, you could type in “hip replacement specialist richmond” or “orthopedic surgeon richmond va” to get a list of specialists in your area. Once you’ve located a couple specialists near you, it’s time to dig a little deeper.

Review Their Credentials

When choosing an orthopedic surgeon, you’ll want to ensure they have all the proper training, experience, and skills to properly diagnosis and treat your condition. Make sure the specialist you’re researching is board certified. Next you’ll want to make sure they don’t have any kinds of malpractice in their history. You can also typically find out things like which schools they went to, which hospitals they trained in, and other certifications they’ve received by visiting the specialists’ website, or by looking at their scores on websites like RateMDs or HealthGrades.

Consider Their Experience Level

Complex orthopedic problems require specialized medical care, and surgery in some cases. This is why you’ll want to select an experienced doctor to work with. Look for surgeons that specialize in certain types of care or treatments, and ask questions about how many patients they’ve treated in the past. If you need a specific surgery or procedure, make sure to ask how many times the doctor has performed that specific procedure, and if there are any complications that might arise.

Check Out Patient Reviews

It’s always helpful to read about other’s experiences with a doctor. It can provide valuable insight into how the doctor conducts themselves, as well as their medical practice in general. You can find reviews on many places across the web, but a good place to start is Google Reviews. Check out other sites like Yelp, as well as websites that are specific to the medical industry like RateMDs and HealthGrades. It’s also worth reviewing the testimonials they have on their own website. You can learn a lot about people’s experience and general satisfaction levels this way.

Make Sure They’re In-Network

Last in the list, but certainly not least, you should really only be looking for surgeons and specialists that are covered by your insurance provider. You’ll want to ensure that you are receiving the most benefits as you can, so your out of pocket expenses are minimized. References, experience, and credentials are all important, but working with an orthopedic surgeon that’s covered by your insurance plan will save you a lot of money, so make sure you’re covered before setting up a consultation!

senior citizen with therapy dog

Dental Hygiene For Seniors & Elderly

When a loved one starts to get older and begins to experience health issues, it can be easy to overlook the basics, such as taking care of your teeth and mouth. As we age, our teeth and gums begin to erode and break down, and it’s more important than ever to make sure you are taking the appropriate steps to maintain a healthy, pain-free mouth!

Since many seniors have sensitive teeth and gums, you have to be careful that you choose a dentist who is able to take care of you with the necessary care and attention to detail. There are many different conditions and complications that can arise as you age in regards to your teeth, such as :

  • Gum Disease
  • Tooth Decay
  • Old Dental Work
  • Oral Cancer

Taking the time to understand your teeth and mouth is extremely important to living a healthy life. Being aware of the different issues that can come up in your mouth is a great first step. It all boils down to one main issue, however: controlling the various bacteria that live in your mouth! The bacteria in your mouth breaks down your enamel and roots of your teeth, which can cause decay and extreme sensitivity.

One of the most common problems with seniors when it comes to their mouth is constant dryness. This can be caused by a large range of things, such as medication’s side effects, treatments for various diseases or just plain genetics! Saliva is absolutely vital to a healthy mouth – without it, the bacteria inside would run rampant. Saliva is a key protector of your teeth, and helps to remove the toxins and other harmful bacteria that build up over time.

The number one solution to preventing tooth decay and helping with dental hygiene, no matter your age, is to limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. Very acidic beverages such as soda and coffee can also contribute to tooth decay over time as well.

Gum disease is a serious problem – and one that can be prevented with routine dental cleanings. Periodontal (gum) disease is very common, and harms you by severely damaging the tissue, bones, and nerves around your teeth, which can result in severe tooth loss and other complications. Being consistent in your dental hygiene routines and using a toothpaste or mouthwash that helps with gum disease are a few steps you can take to help prevent it. Smoking and diabetes can also contribute to the chances of you encountering gum disease in your lifetime.

Proper dental hygiene is a process that takes place over your entire lifetime. Bad dental hygiene habits from your earlier years can come back to bite you as you age, and vice versa. Even if you have had beautiful teeth your whole life, failing to take care of them can cause issues to pop up quickly! If you are looking for the best care around, I highly recommend taking the time to ask the dental care facility any questions you may have about their cleaning process and the steps they take during the cleanings. Choosing the best dentist in Raleigh NC was somewhat of a hassle, but in the end, I decided to go with Dr. Russo for my senior family members because of his outstanding reviews and customer praise regarding his gentle nature and care of senior patients.

How Robo-Pets are Changing Seniors Lives

Hasbro has recently developed a new line of toys that is aimed at helping senior citizens cope with loneliness. The first of the Joy for All Companion Pets line is a robotic cat that has a variety of simple sensors all along its body that provoke different lifelike reactions. This robocat was developed for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, and to help battle depression and other mental illnesses that many seniors have to deal with.

senior citizen with robotic therapy pet

The concept of companion pets for seniors isn’t an entirely new idea, with many different brands attempting to make versions of their own. Recent technology has allowed these toys to simulate life in a way that is appealing to seniors and others suffering from various mental illnesses. For someone who receives regular in-home senior care, or is a resident of a nursing home where people are constantly taking care of them, it can give quite a sense of empowerment to feel as though they have something that they are taking care of.

senior citizen with therapy dogFor many seniors the stress of taking care of a real pet can be far too much for them to handle, leading to a feeling of failure on the part of the senior and poor care for the pet. Often times when families try to surprise their elderly family members with a cat or dog, it creates a situation where the family or caregiver ends up having yet another series of tasks to help out with around the house, and you always run the risk of the pet not being particularly friendly towards their new senior companion. These companion pets from Hasbro on the other hand are said to feel like the real thing and provide a similar feeling of companionship that seniors get from having a real pet. Many elderly cat lovers have taken quite a liking to their robotic companions because while they know that it’s not a real cat, it reminds them of cats that they’ve had.

Many seniors are well aware that they are not in a place where they could deal with a real pet, and having a robotic pet that you can talk to, responds to your petting, and can move and interact with you simulates enough of an experience to be an appropriate alternative. For nursing home patients, and seniors living at home, these companion pets are showing measurable results for seniors battling with loneliness and depression. Research has shown time and again that loneliness and depression are some of the main problems that affect the emotional and mental health of seniors, and simple companionship (even from a robot) can go a long way to keeping these feelings at bay.

Paro the robotic seal with elderly manOne of the most famous companion pets on the market is the Japanese developed Paro the Seal. Paro is a robotic seal that is technically referred to as medical technology and carries a significantly higher price tag than Hasbro’s companion pets, which Paro creator, Takanori Shibata, has referred to as “just toys”. Coming in at a cool $5000, Paro is being used in hospitals across the world as a therapeutic measure for people of all ages, suffering from a wide variety of illnesses. The cute and cuddly seal companion can restore hope for patients going through chemo, children with terminal illnesses, and adults with special needs.

Originally the idea came about as an alternative to animal-assisted therapy, which has shown great results for all types of patients and especially for boosting spirits of seniors in nursing home facilities. The drawback to animal-assisted therapy is the fact that therapy dogs and cats can only work for so long before they get worn out, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be friendly to everyone. Robotic companions on the other hand can work until they need to be recharged and run their programming no matter who is holding them.

These robotic companions are rapidly gaining popularity, creating a whole new market for toy developers and manufacturers to take advantage of. Many nursing homes and in-home care agencies are starting to deploy these robocats and robodogs as a part of their senior care regimen, and getting good results from it. It will be interesting to see how these robotic companions evolve moving forward and what new kinds of therapy emerge as a result of this technology.